Crownover’s hat trick leads Big Red to big win
STEUBENVILLE – Getting chances is one thing, burying them is another.
A couple of minutes of action in the second half highlighted that as host Catholic Central misfired on a golden opportunity and Big Red went the other way and scored back-to-back goals to pull away for a 3-0 win at the Tony Recinella soccer field, a win Steubenville needed after dropping its last two.
“This was a good bounce back,” Big Red head coach Anni Curti said. “Our season kind of took a turn after Morgantown … a lot of the last week has been mental battles. We spent a lot of time at practice (Wednesday) dealing with that and working on connecting, making passes, possession and being able to support each other on runs – and it translated to the game (Thursday).”
The pivotal moments occurred late in the match as the Crusaders (5-5) were awarded a penalty kick with the Big Red (5-5) lead at 1-0. Ellen Rohde’s shot skipped wide of the post, and Maleea Crownover cashed in on the first chance the other way to make it 2-0, then connected again to make it 3-0 moments later and leave little doubt about the outcome.
“That was big to score after they had an opportunity, and the one thing that’s been lacking, I think, is crashing the net. We’d have a shot and just stand and watch it. (Thursday) we crashed the net and good things happen when you do that,” Curti said. “Now that they see that it translates, hopefully we keep it going.”
Crownover also had Steubenville’s first goal in the opening half for the hat trick. Sophia Riley and Taylor Moss added assists.
“That’s really good for her,” Curti said of Crownover’s hat trick. “She started to come alive in the Weir game and that has carried over.”
On the flip side, the quick swing in momentum was a tough pill to swallow.
“It’s tough, especially when we have that penalty kick. We happened to put it wide and they countered on us quickly,” Central head coach Jonathan Hoover, who’s team was without reigning all-stater Maria Meyer, said. “We had pushed up, we had three at the back trying to push up to get a goal, and it kind of paid off with an opportunity, but they countered on us very, very quickly and being down two kind of dropped our heads a little bit.”
Being the lone meeting between the city rivals this season makes it that much tougher.
“It’s always a tough one to lose,” Hoover said. “A lot of the girls know each other, there’s a lot of bragging rights for the next year. This is a team I have never been able to beat in my time here so it’s tough.
“It was a good game, it was 1-0 for a long time and we gave ourselves a chance and believed we could win it.”
Neither team is scheduled to play prior to next week’s OVAC tournament, for which the cutoff to qualify was Thursday. The Crusaders entered the match in second place in the 1-3A standings with the top four qualifying, while Big Red was fifth of teams eligible in Class 5A with the top six making the field.