SIDNEY — Sidney’s boys soccer squad has shown its youthfulness early this season but is showing signs of growing up according to coach Jamie Fridley. He’s hoping a long stretch on the road will further age the team.
Sidney evened its record to 2-2 on Tuesday by beating rival Piqua 6-4 in a Miami Valley League crossover match. It was the last home game for three weeks for the Yellow Jackets, which will play their next four games on the road.
“So far, we’re not bad,” Fridley said. “We’re really young. We’ve only got a couple of seniors that play and are a sophomore- and junior-heavy team. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re getting there.”
Senior midfielder Connor Simpson has been a steadying influence for the squad. He scored two goals against the Indians on Tuesday and has four to his credit this year. He also had two assists.
“He’s a phenomenal player, plays high-level club ball,” Fridley said. “He could play D-I (in college). When we went up to Ashland (for a preseason camp), the coaches loved him up there. D-II is definitely in his future. D-I could be in his future.”
Piqua’s Nathan Buecker scored all four of the team’s goals and scored the first goal of the game, but Simpson and Sidney junior forward Graham Van Tilburgh each scored a goal before halftime to give Sidney a 2-1 lead.
Buecker scored a goal with about 30 minutes left in the second half to tie it 2-2, but Van Tilburgh and Brayden Kennedy scored on breakaways over the next 10 minutes to put Sidney ahead for good.
After Buecker scored again, Van Tilburgh scored his third goal of the night on a breakaway to give Sidney a 5-3 lead. Simpson added another goal in the final minutes, and Buecker cut the final gap to 6-4 by scoring on a late penalty kick.
Sidney lost its season opener to Bellefontaine 3-2 on Aug. 22, a game that Fridley said the squad “should have won.” They rebounded with a 6-0 win over Fairborn the next night but lost 2-1 at St. Marys on Monday in a game that was called at halftime due to thunderstorms.
“I think we could have come back and beaten St. Marys if we’d have played the second half,” Fridley said. “… Hopefully tonight was a turning point for us and we can start getting back on the winning track.”
The Yellow Jackets are scheduled to start their long stretch on the road by traveling to Northmont (1-0-1) on Thursday.
“We want to win the games we’re supposed to win and compete with the teams we’re not supposed to beat,” Fridley said. “That’s what we’re shooting for this year. Hopefully we can finish .500 at 8-8. Hopefully that’ll get us a decent draw for tournament, and anything can happen in tournament.”
Hot start for Jackson Center
The Tigers, which lost their first game of the season on Monday, haven’t had any problems scoring goals so far this season.
Jackson Center senior Camdyn Reese has scored a team-high five goals while Bryson Roberts has scored four, Lucas Heitkamp and Trever Huber have each scored two and Gavin McClintock has scored one.
The Tigers opened the season by beating Springfield 3-0 in a tournament on Aug. 19 at Benjamin Logan, then followed the next day by beating the host Raiders by the same score in the championship game. They defeated Bellefontaine 5-1 on Aug. 25 to improve to 3-0.
The squad suffered its first loss Monday when Wapakoneta traveled to Jackson Center and earned a 7-3 win.
The Tigers were scheduled to host Spencerville in a Western Ohio Soccer League match on Wednesday.
Botkins gets 1st win
The Trojans opened the season with three consecutive losses by one goal each but earned their first win with ease on Tuesday by blasting Fairlawn 12-0 in both teams’ WOSL opener.
Botkins lost 1-0 to Miami East on Aug. 20, 3-2 to Waueson on Aug. 25 and 2-1 to Bluffton on Saturday.
The Trojans are scheduled to travel to Kalida on Sept. 6.
Lehman Catholic searching for 1st win
The Cavaliers are scheduled to host Piqua on Thursday and are hoping for their first win after an 0-2-1 start.
Lehman lost 3-0 to West Liberty-Salem on Aug. 20 and tied Fairlawn 3-3 on Aug. 23. The squad lost its Three Rivers Conference opener to Milton-Union 8-1 on Aug. 25.