ST. CLAIRSVILLE - With injuries starting to mount two games into Wes Stoner's first season as coach of the St. Clairsville girls' soccer team, the former Red Devils standout needed something to change his team's luck.
How about a fluky goal?
That's just what the doctor ordered Wednesday night as the Red Devils (2-1) trailed Edison 1-0 late in the first half and things weren't looking good for the Red Devils, who were coming off a 7-0 shellacking at Brooke earlier in the week.
Senior Taryn Barr lofted the ball deep into the Wildcats' zone from near midfield. The ball took one huge bounce off the artificial surface and barely went over the outstretched arms of Edison goalkeeper Katie Oinonen to tie the game a mere 43 seconds after the visitors scored.
The goal jump-started St. Clairsville to three goals in the final 11 minutes of the first half en route to a 4-1 victory at Red Devil Stadium.
"I'll take the luck," Stoner said with a smile. "After that goal, things started working again for us. The girls are starting to pick up the style of play I want them to play. It's completely different from what they used to play. It's more possession."
The Red Devils made their coach look like a genius with time winding down in the first 40 minutes. Seniors Carlee Gillespie and Madison Keenan hooked up on a scoring play as Gillespie sped down the right sideline before sending a cross to the center of the box about 20 yards in front of Oinonen. Keenan took control of the ball and blasted it into the back of the cage for a 2-1 edge with 2:15 showing on the clock.
"That is the kind of combination that should be happening all the way up the field," Stoner added. "It's getting there. Everyone is still a little confused, but it's a work in progress."
They weren't done as Gillespie sent a laser to the net from 30 yards out on the right wing that Oinonen never got a hand on as the lead grew to 3-1 with 49.7 seconds remaining. Eberle Ferrell was credited with an assist.
"Carlee is fantastic," Stoner said. "She's battling a little bit of a back injury, but she's a battler."
Gillespie concluded the scoring early in the second half when she headed in a corner kick by Ferrell for the 4-1 final margin.
"That was a beautiful setup by Eberle and Carlee went up and got it," Stone said of the picture-perfect twine-tickler.
St. Clairsville outshot Edison 11-7. The Red Devils' goalkeeper, senior Brianna Sowers, notched six saves, with four of them coming late in the game was the final score was already decided and Stoner emptied his bench.
Oinonen was called upon to make seven saves.
Allie Byrley scored the Wildcats' lone goal off a nifty give-and-go with Amara Proffitt.