ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Sometimes a loss can be a good thing ... a type of learning experience for a young squad.
Whatever St. Clairsville learned from a shutout loss to Linsly last week, it has used to its advantage.
On Monday night on the turf at Red Devil Stadium, the Red Devils (4-2) posted a convincing, 5-0, triumph against Steubenville in girls' soccer action in St. Clairsville.
"I'm very pleased with the way the girls have responded," said first-year St. C. coach Scott Dutton.
"Our defense held us in it. Brianna (Sowers) didn't see a lot of action, but when she did, she was up to the task."
In notching her fourth whitewashing of the campaign, Sowers was charted with six saves - three in each half - but only one that she had to work hard for.
St. Clairsville applied pressure early on and never let up, but Big Red goalkeeper Loren Gray kept her team in the game time and again. She faced 43 shots, including 24 in the second half when the Red Devils pulled away with a trio of goals.
"Loren did a really great job," Steubenville coach Brittany Falbo said. "She had a lot of good saves. the last goal that they got was a header off a corner kick, and there's not much you can do about that."
However, it was a misplayed ball by Gray that led to the first goal of the night. Following a St. Clairsville direct kick, the ball was trickled to Gray's right where she strayed to pick it up. But the ball eluded her grasp and the Red Devils' Carlee Gillespie controlled it, spun and fired a right-footed laser along the turf that tickled the twine at the 20:56 mark of the first half.
Less than 7 minutes later, Gillespie dribbled the ball down the left wing and, at the last moment, sent a cross to the right post that Megan Hendershot tapped in with her right foot for a 2-0 lead at the 27:24 mark.
"It was Megan's first time playing up front, and she put a lot of pressure on them (Big Red)," Dutton said of Hendershot. "She played well."
Gray stood on her head a couple of times in the waning moments of the half, or the score could've been worse.
It didn't take the Red Devils long to add to their margin as Taryn Barr brought the ball up the middle of the field before sending it ahead through a pair of Big Red defenders to Eberle Ferrell.
Ferrell dribbled it inside the 10-yard line before deking a defender and firing a rocket just inside the left post for a 3-0 lead.
Not long after that, it became 4-0 as Gillespie headed a Ferrell corner kick past Gray. Ferrell scored her team-leading 10th goal to complete the scoring as Kayla Dusz recorded an assist.
"We moved some people around and it helped," Dutton said.