BELPRE -In the six-year history of the Belpre High School soccer program, the Golden Eagles had played just one sectional soccer match at Ralph Holder Stadium.
So, when the members of the 2012 team learned they were going to host Eastern Beaver in a first-round match there, they naturally were excited.
That excitement showed on Monday, when Belpre totally dominated its outmanned foe, rolling to a 10-0 victory to up its record to 10-4-3 heading into Wednesday night's sectional semifinal at Alexander.
Belpre wasted little time taking control of Monday's match. Just 2 minutes and 59 seconds in the first half, the Golden Eagles' leading scorer, Dakota Hoffman, took a pass from Brennen Ferrell and put it in the net for a 1-0 lead. Just 30 seconds later, Ferrell scored a goal, taking a pass from Trent Stanley.
By the time the first half was over, Belpre led 7-0 as both Ferrell and Hoffman had hat tricks and Stanley had a goal and three assists.
"We started backing off after that,'' said Golden Eagles coach Jeff Stanley. That allowed Fernando Del Rio to score a pair of second-half goals and Seldon Smith to close out scoring.
Stanley was pleased with his team's aggressiveness, which has become a Belpre trademark.
"We've got a good group of seniors,'' he said, noting it was their last home match.
In past seasons, Hoffman had been counted on to do most of the scoring. This year, he has a lot more help and it shows in the won-loss record. One of those who have made a difference is Ferrell, who doubles in the fall as a member of the Belpre High golf team. Stanley, the coach's son, has tied the school's single-season assist record.
Soccer is growing in Belpre, thanks to the efforts of the Belpre Soccer Club. Coach Stanley used to serve as the club's president and is familiar with the impact it has had on Belpre soccer.
Belpre will have it hands full with Alexander, which won their regular season meeting, 3-1. But with a senior-dominated team that is battle tested, the Eagles are ready for any challenge that comes their way.
Athens Ousts Marietta
DEVOLA - Marietta High just ran out of time.
The Tigers had Athens High in a defensive posture for most of the match but to no avail as it dropped a 2-1 decision in a sectional tournament opener at the Devola Soccer Complex Monday night.
MHS exits with a 7-8-2 record while AHS, 8-7-2, advances to play at top-seeded Hillsboro Thursday.
"This was similar to the first game," said Marietta head coach Jeff Price, whose Tigers fell 2-1 to Athens in The Plains on Sept. 22. "We just didn't get lucky."
In the sectional do-or-die contest, MHS outshot the Bulldogs, 24-2, and had only one goal to show for it, Molly Josefson's late score in the second half.
"We were so close," said Josefson, a foreign exchange student from Sweden. "I think we had the game all the time, but they (Athens) got the goals. It's a shame that we didn't win."
The Tigers also had a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks, and dominated possession of the ball. Orange and black freshman keeper Nora Gulick had no saves as Athens made the only two shots it took on the frame.
AHS senior striker Brooke Kemerer, a transfer from Saginaw, Mich., and sophomore marking back Miranda Tinkham each had a goal for the winners.
Bulldog frosh keeper goalie Emily Fischer was credited with 13 saves.
"Their goal-keeper made some nice saves," Price said. "We just couldn't get the second ball (equalizer). It happens."