AMERICAN TOWNSHIP – Lima Central Catholic had lost the momentum and was in real danger of losing a lot more than that.
But with 12:54 to go LCC’s Skyler Corso got loose and fed Xanan Ruiz for a goal to give the T-Birds room to breathe with a two-goal cushion.
LCC ended up with a 4-2 boys soccer victory over Temple Christian in a Western Ohio Soccer League match Thursday at Temple.
“It feels good and we’re all just trying to win the league,” Corso said. “It definitely feels good to come out with a win over a tough Temple team because they’re a good team.’’
LCC is 4-2-1 and 3-0 in the WOSL. Temple Christian is 4-3, 2-1 in the WOSL.
Corso had two goals and one assist for the T-Birds. Trey Horstman had a goal and two assists for LCC.
Levi Shenk and Cameron Worsham scored for the Pioneers.
The T-Birds led 3-0 at the half, but Temple dominated the second half and cut the lead to 3-2.
“They (Temple) picked up the intensity in the second half, but we didn’t back down and the defense played well,” LCC coach Garry Tabler said.
The Pioneers, down 3-2, were swarming the LCC goal and looking for the game-tying goal.
That’s when Corso got loose down the right side and dribbled down the right side of the 18-yard box before feeding Ruiz 15-yards out. Ruiz’s line-drive shot just got under the crossbar to give the T-Birds a 4-2 lead with 12:54 to play.
“I depended on my speed and I beat him,” Corso said. “Then I saw Xanan (Ruiz) out of the corner of my eye and he was calling for it. I played it to him and he made it.’’
Ruiz, a foreign-exchange student from Spain, has scored four goals in three matches for LCC.
“He’s definitely helping us in practice and teaching us his ways, because he came all the way from Europe,” Corso said. “It’s definitely working. We’re very grateful that he’s on our team.’’
Temple outshot LCC 14-5.
The Pioneers also had the corner-kick advantage 8-2.
LCC sophomore goalkeeper Jack Zerante made nine saves, including at least four leaping, tip saves over the crossbar. He also had two diving saves at the post.
“He played a good game,” Tabler said. He’s getting better every game.’’
Temple goalkeeper Ethan Kramer had two saves.
Corso scored first on a feed from Horstman with 30:32 to play in the first half. Corso got loose one-on-one with the goalkeeper and Horstman played him a perfect pass.
It was the same combination for LCC’s second goal, again a one-on-one with the keeper.
Horstman, at the top of the 18-yard box, hit Corso on the right side and Corso again drilled the shot into the net.
That made it 2-0 with 23:52 left in the first half.
“It wasn’t just me,” Corso said. “It was my teammates who were playing me the ball. I thank them.’’
Added Tabler, “You have to credit Trey (Horstman). We talked about finding those gaps in the defense and not getting rid of the ball to quick.’’
Horstman was then pushed down in the box, which led to a penalty kick.
Horstman sent the penalty kick in the lower-left corner of the net to give LCC a 3-0 lead with 21:45 left in the half.
The Pioneers, which had outshot LCC 8-3 in the first half, came out in the second half playing the ball to the corners and firing crosses into the box.
The strategy paid off.
Seth Ward, on the right outside of the box, hit Worsham with a pass and Worsham finished it to get Temple within 3-1 with 39:04 to go.
Shenk, just outside the right side of the box, then drilled a shot from 22-yards out into the lower-left corner of the net. That brought Temple within 3-2 with 17:05 to go.
The Pioneers pushed forward with their attack, but Corso’s run down the side and assist to Ruiz gave LCC a 4-2 lead.
“We said this Temple team is one of the top two or three teams in the league,” Tabler said. “The league championship starts with these guys right here.’’