Waverly soccer
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John Bruce

Waverly sweeps Westfall in girls, boys soccer twinbill

The Tigers' girls and boys both pick up victories.

John Bruce, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

WAVERLY — It was Senior Night for Waverly’s soccer programs on Thursday. But it took efforts from all four classes to bring home a pair of victories over visiting Westfall.

The first game of the evening was the girls matchup, featuring a pair of teams who have had impressive bounce-back seasons. The match was a hard-fought, back-and-forth contest that was tight into the final moments.

The Tigers (7-6-1) began the contest with energy, controlling the action and getting a pair of shots off that sailed wide of the goal in the opening 10 minutes of play. But less than two minutes later, senior Kaitlyn Hignite cashed in on a golden opportunity when freshman Gracie Brown sent her a beautiful cross, making it 1-0 with 28:07 to play in the first half.

After the first score was tallied, the Mustangs (7-7) appeared to wake up as senior Alyssa Wyman and freshman Kyleigh Mercurio began to pressure the Tigers’ backline.

Wyman put a shot just wide of the target nearly 20 minutes into the contest. Mercurio, however, was able to put the Mustangs on the board, making a nice cutback and sending a scintillating right-footed shot into the side netting to tie the match at 1-1 with 15:17 left in the first half.

The teams remained in a stalemate for nearly 30 minutes of game time with neither team gaining an obvious advantage.

But when a strange bounce took a ball over the end line, giving the Tigers a corner kick, momentum changed. Paige O’Bryant stepped up to take the corner and, following a scrum in the box, Kyree Tinney put the ball towards the net, where junior Rachel Remy slammed the ball into the goal, giving Waverly a 2-1 lead with 29:27 to play.

Westfall refused to back down, eventually getting a great look for Mercurio off a cross from Wyman. But the freshman’s scalding shot just clanged off the crossbar and away to safety for the Tigers.

Waverly was ultimately able to put the nail in the coffin with 2:36 to play as a pair of sophomores connected for the Tigers’ final tally. O’Bryant sent a perfectly paced corner kick to the backside of the box, where Leah Walters headed the ball away to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.

Waverly’s Abby Green picked up a pair of saves in goal while the team’s defense, headed by Delani Tackett and Izzy Hauck, limited Westfall’s scoring chances.

Following Senior Night activities between the evening’s two matches, a steady rain began to fall.

But it didn’t matter to Waverly’s boys, who played the type of game they’d been hoping to have for weeks.

Westfall (4-9-1) attempted to get out of the gates quickly, putting up a number of long distance shots early in the contest. But Waverly junior goalkeeper Kristian Posey continuously fought away the attempts.

Westfall appeared to become acclimated to the slick field, playing significantly faster than the Tigers with Henry Barnes and Landon Powers putting constant pressure on Waverly’s defense.

But the Tigers (2-12-1) began to make some headway in the later moments of the first half as Blayse Jones, Josh Medukas and Carson Moore started to gain more possession through the midfield, eventually leading to increased attacks in the offensive third.

The increased pressure paid off as Moore dribbled down the right side of the field before crossing to a streaking Zarian Canter on the backside, who beat the diving keeper to give Waverly a 1-0 lead at the 7:57 mark in the opening half.

The Tigers’ defense, anchored by their only senior Bryson Riggs, was put to the test in the final 40 minutes. The Mustangs made a major push to draw even, continuing to press forward, an effort led by Barnes, who nearly tied the match with a shot from outside the 18.

Waverly, hungry for its second win of the season, continued its attempt at a counterattack, which paid off when freshman Landyn Russell got loose on a breakaway, scoring into the right side netting with 14:47 to play, making it 2-0.

Russell then slammed the door shut on the win, scoring on another breakaway with only 19 seconds to play.

Posey, a junior, collected eight saves for the Tigers as they pitched their second shutout of the season in their second victory.

Both Waverly’s boys and girls are back in action this coming Thursday, hosting West. Meanwhile, both of Westfall’s programs will look to bounce back on Monday at Unioto.


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