BATH TOWNSHIP — Bath sophomore Dylan Howell didn’t waste any time making an impact in his first varsity start.
Howell had two assists off of two corner kicks to help Bath post a 3-2 boys soccer victory over Lima Central Catholic in the Bath Kickoff Classic on Tuesday night at Bath.
Continental rolled to an 8-0 win over Paulding in the first match.
Bath (1-0) will meet Continental (1-0) in the Kickoff Classic championship match at 7 p.m. Thursday at Bath.
“I’m thrilled with that (two goals off corner kicks),” Bath coach David Briggs said. “One thing we focused on as coaches over the summer was seeing what corner plays we wanted to set up this season and change it up from last year. We developed some corner plays we can trust. Scoring two goals off corner kicks is very, very positive.’’
LCC (0-2) will play Paulding (0-2) in the consolation match at 5 p.m. Thursday.
Bath and LCC traded possessions quite a bit, as both teams marched through the other’s midfield.
“We need a couple more games to get rhythm and then I think we’ll be all right,” LCC coach Tim McNamara said. “It was a good game. I thought we played well.
“I think we did a pretty good job moving the ball. Set pieces are where we need struggled today and we’re going to be working on that.’’
Bath’s Jonathan Wiggins had two goals, while Howell had two assists. Zach Garza had one goal and one assist for Bath.
Bath outshot LCC 14-9. Both teams had nine corner kicks.
But the difference was the Wildcats scored two goals off their nine corners and almost had a third goal, except LCC goalkeeper Jack Zerante came up with a big, leaping save out of the air.
The game-tying goal came with 25:35 to go off the corner kick by Howell.
The ball reached the mouth of the goal box and Wiggins headed it home to give Bath the lead to stay, 3-2.
“I saw they had three people on one person (Garza) so I so Johnny (Wiggins) pop his head over the top and I played it right over to him,” Howell said.
“Last year I didn’t even have a varsity jersey, but I came in worked my butt in the offseason and I got a spot on the team today. I’m thankful my team could get something on it to put my corners into the net.’’
LCC’s Billy Blankemeyer scored first when a Bath defender failed to clear the ball out of the box and the ball ended up bouncing to the foot of Blankemeyer, who rammed it home with 14:48 left in the first half.
Bath tied on off a corner kick by Howell to Garza who drilled it into the net. That made it 1-1 with 9:14 left in the first half.
Bath took a 2-1 lead when Garza’s shot went off the left post and Wiggins pounded home the rebound shot at the goal mouth with 2:11 left in the first half.
LCC’s Josiah Simpson scored from 15-yards out to tie the match at 2 with 33:47 to go.
Bath’s defense was led by veteran defender Robert Mooney, who came up big by halting LCC forward Trey Horstman on a breakaway. Mooney had several other key steals and clears.
Bath goalkeeper Brenton Brock had four saves.
Zerante had eight saves for LCC.
Continental 8, Paulding 0
The Pirates, the co-Putnam County League champions last year, led 3-0 at the half and completely dominated play against the Panthers.
Continental outshot Paulding 34-1.
Konnor Okuley had two goals for the Pirates. Isaiah Good had two of the team’s final three goals.
Taron Butler, Cole Bowers, Andrew Hoeffel and Aidan Earles all scored for the Pirates.
“We started out a little slow and came out with jitters,” Continental coach Brian Stegbauer said. “I thought Paulding played really hard the whole game. It was nice to see when we did put the younger group in it really didn’t stop anything.’’
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