By John Bombatch
XENIA — Greeneview may have graduated nine regular starters from its team of a year ago, but they still have Dart Hovan.
Hovan scored all three goals as the visiting Rams defeated Legacy Christian Academy, 3-2, Thursday evening on the Athletes In Action Sports Complex soccer field. The Greeneview junior converted a penalty kick score in each half, and scored off his own corner kick in the first half to turn a hat trick.
You could say that it’s the first time Greeneview had ever defeated Legacy Christian in a boys soccer match, but that’s because Legacy Christian was known as Xenia Christian before this season.
The host Knights had tied the match when Keano Hammerstrom dished off to LCA teammate Jon Cozenza for a score with roughly 27:14 left to play in the first half. Two minutes later, Hammerstrom slipped past the Greeneview goalkeeper for a score to give the Knights a 2-1 lead.
Hovan notched his second goal of the evening midway through the first half when he kicked in a shot from the right side off a corner kick that he appeared to initiate.
He scored the winning goal on a corner kick opportunity with 24 minutes left to play. LCA had been whistled for a penalty within the penalty box, and Hovan sent the penalty kick into the left corner of the Knights goal for the game-winner.
“The play in the second half was much better for us, and we had a lot of good looks at the goal,” Rams coach Bob Eakins said. “Legacy doesn’t back down, which is awesome. It was a hard-fought battle. We’re not there yet, but we did a nice job tonight.”
The win was Greeneview’s first this season in three matches. Legacy is now 2-4.
Knights coach Nathan Anthony says his team needed more intensity, especially on defense.
“Their ability to possess the ball at midfield killed us,” he said. “We gave Greeneview too much space. They were able to turn and find Dart successfully, and you can’t let them have that. It’s an easy fix. We’ve just gotta step up harder in the middle and not let them get that turn.”
Anthony particularly liked the play of Cozenza, Hammerstrom, John McCaskey and Josh Stover.
“Hustle is our best friend right now,” Anthony said. “When we get tired, we stop hustling. And that’s what kills us.”
Greeneview returns to Ohio Heritage Conference action Thursday when they’ll host South Charleston Southeastern at 7:30 p.m. LCA is back in action Tuesday for a first-ever meeting on the road against Fayetteville Perry.