John Bruce, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — Despite a slow start, Unioto senior Ethan Kerns knew the Shermans’ conditioning would make a major difference down the stretch of their 4-1 season-opening win over Hamilton Township.
“The thing that really pushed us was our stamina,” Kerns said. “We worked all summer long running in the hills, just getting ready for this. We wore them out.”
The beginning of the game was a little murky for the Shermans (1-0), who started six underclassmen, but their endurance gave them a big advantage over the visiting Rangers.
It was the Rangers who struck first though, as they netted the opening tally with 19:19 to play in the first half. HT controlled much of the first 30 minutes of the contest, out-shooting and out-possessing the ball over the upstart Tanks.
But, over the final 10 minutes of the first half, you could see the tide begin to turn the Shermans’ way.
Behind stellar defensive outings from Ashton Sigler and Antonio Cruz, the Tanks started to grab momentum heading into halftime.
“Our backline was insane tonight,” Kerns added. “Antonio Cruz, playing defensive mid(field), was ridiculous tonight … shut them down completely.”
Despite trailing 1-0 at the half, Unioto appeared to be ready to break through, and behind Kerns, they didn’t just break through, they destroyed everything in their path in the second half.
Only 51 seconds into the second stanza, Kerns scored on a loose ball in the box. Five minutes and 18 seconds later, he scored again, this time on a cross from freshman River Pettigrew. Less than 3 minutes later, he finished off his hat trick with a brilliant individual run down the left sideline.
The game started to settle at that point, but the Tanks weren’t done scoring just yet. Freshman Lucas Hanes netted his first career goal, also assisted by Pettigrew, on a beautiful chip into the far corner of the net that prove to be the final tally of the night.
Unioto returns to action on Thursday evening, hosting Hillsboro. For those interested, all Unioto games will be streamed on Facebook on the Unioto Men’s Soccer Page.
NOTES: the Shermans started three freshmen (Hanes, Pettigrew, and Cameron Thompson) and 3 sophomores (JC Stark, Richardo Arredondo, and Micah Geise) … Unioto finished the 2019 season at 9-7-0.
|9||Shots on Target||7|
|6 (Micah Geise)||Saves||5|
|– 19:19 (1)’|
– 39:09 (2)
– 33:51 (2)
– 31:22 (2)
– 6:10 (2)
|– HT #14|
– Ethan Kerns (U)
– Kerns (U)
– Kerns (U)
– Lucas Hanes (U)
|– HT #3|
– River Pettigrew
|– Cross from 3 to 14, from outside 18|
– No clearance, loose ball in box
Cross from right wing, lower left corner
– Won ball at midfield, beat defense
– Cross from RW, chip into left corner