By John Bombatch
JAMESTOWN — In a showdown of two of the Miami Valley’s top Division III boys high school soccer programs, the host Greeneview Rams showed just why they’ve been considered the area’s best.
Greeneview (6-0-0) pulled away from a talented Yellow Springs contingent for a 5-1 win, Saturday, at Don Nock Field. The Rams were voted no. 1 in last week’s Miami Valley Scholastic Soccer coaches poll, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t remain atop the rankings after the win over Yellow Springs (2-2-1).
“I thought we moved the ball extremely well. We might’ve gotten a little one dimensional down the middle of the field, but it’s the sixth game of the season,” Rams coach Bob Eakins. “I thought we played well enough to win it. We’re definitely better than the average team, our kids play hard. We knew they were no. 3 coming in, and I think we kind of asserted ourselves tonight.
“No offense to the teams we’ve played, but Yellow Springs was one of the biggest tests we’ve had this season. And it’s been a long time since we’ve beaten Yellow Springs, so this feels pretty good.”
According to the Metro Buckeye Conference’s website, which goes back to the 2008 season, this is the first time a Rams team has beaten Yellow Springs during that span. The two Greene County programs battled to a 3-3 tie in 2011, but Saturday marks at least the first Greeneview victory over the Bulldogs in eight years.
The Rams opened the scoring early when senior co-captain Jerisyn Gilliam knocked in a header from the right side of the Yellow Springs goal with about three minutes having ticked away in the opening half.
But Yellow Springs responded quickly when junior forward Joe Plumer raced deep into Rams territory then fired a shot from the left wing that sailed into the upper right corner of the Greeneview goal with barely five minutes off the game clock.
Some Rams players reacted as if they’d just lost a championship game when Plumer scored, but that was because Plumer’s goal was the first given up by the Rams this season. Greeneview had gone 402 minutes (more than six hours of game play) and 46 seconds without having a goal scored against them this season.
Fellow Rams captain Jacob Mickle capitalized on a Bulldog foul with 30:28 left in the first half. Mickle bashed a free kick into the left side of the Yellow Springs goal from close range to put Greeneview out in front, 2-1.
A nifty right-to-left crossing pass from Jaden Baise to a scoring Brayden Woods put the Rams up, 3-1, with 20 minutes left in the half. Then Woods added another goal two minutes later for a 4-1 Rams lead at the half.
Yellow Springs appeared to make some halftime adjustments to slow down the Greeneview scoring machine, but Mickle fired a low liner into the left corner of the Bulldogs goal for the Rams final tally of the game midway through the second half.
“They have a really good team this year, what can you say?” shrugged Yellow Springs coach Ben VanAusdal. “They have nine returning seniors who have played together since their freshman year. We’re rebuilding. I probably have two seniors. But I think it was a good game, and my boys showed great effort.
“But hats off to them, they’re a good team. … It’s a good learning experience for my young team. Moving forward, they now know what it will be like to play against a really good talented team.”
Yellow Springs is back on the pitch today when they’ll host Springfield Emmanuel Christian. Greeneview also plays tonight. They host South Charleston Southeastern in an Ohio Heritage Conference match on Don Nock Field.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.