LINESVILLE — All things considered, the Conneaut Area boys soccer team comported itself well during Monday’s 4-0 loss to Region 2 opponent Sharon.
There was, after all, quite a bit to consider.
For one thing, there’s the Eagles’ coaching situation. Second-year head coach Corey Lohr wasn’t with the team yesterday, and hasn’t been with the team for more than a week. According to CASH Athletic Director John Acklin, school administrators are currently sorting out the issue.
In the meantime, former assistant Scott Hinterleiter has stepped into the head coaching role in an interim capacity.
“I’m just doing what (the school) asked me to do, taking over the team,” said Hinterleiter. “They sent me an email today saying that I was running the program. So, it’s a work in progress.”
There were also some key pieces missing on the pitch itself. The Eagles’ leading scorer, Brady Birtkidis, got a red card on Saturday during a game against Franklin and had to sit out yesterday’s game. Plus, starting goalie Jay Thomas was out with an injury.
So, the CASH boys went with what they had and still gave the Tigers a decent tussle.
“We had a lot going against us,” said Hinterleiter. “But the guys are doing great. We have a young team. We have nine 9th graders and I have five 9th graders starting on the field.
“So, give me a couple years with this team and it could be a different thing.”
There were positives on display yesterday, even among all the weirdness.
For instance, CASH (2-8-1, 0-6-0 Region 2) kept things pretty competitive at midfield, winning possession away from the Tigers (6-4-0, 2-4-0 Region 2) and moving the ball
However, once Conneaut got near the Tigers’ goal, that’s where things started to fall apart. The Eagles struggled to set up many promising shot opportunities. The absence of Birtkidis likely exacerbated things.
“We just couldn’t get to the net,” said Hinterleiter. “But we’ve had a lot of issues with that this year. I mean, the last game that we played we had the ball in the other teams’ half for 25 minutes. But we had eight shots on goal. Eight shots that went over the goal.”
Soon enough, the Tigers started trickling the ball through the defense and getting off shots.
Starting goalkeeper Kayden Ransom did a good job of keeping Sharon’s scoring to a minimum. He would make seven saves over the first half, including an exciting cluster at the 11-minute mark, which saw im dive after one shot, punch away a second while still on his back, and then take another one in the bread basket to end the Tigers’ opportunity.
Sharon wouldn’t be denied entirely, though.
Just four minutes in, Sharon had the ball in the box, and Ransom had to come out and try to collect it. But Colson Weigle squibbed it underneath Ransom to get his team on the board.
The game remained 1-0 until there was under a minute to play in the first. The CASH defense whiffed on a clearing attempt, allowing Sharon to get a two-on-one against Ransom. Jake Auchter crossed it over to Weigle, who buried it.
Sharon then added two more goals in the second half — a third from Weigle, and then one final one by Ty Chartraw off a penalty kick.
CASH, meanwhile, couldn’t formulate an answer.
“They’re playing a good game,” said Hinterleiter. “We just need to slow the ball down. You know, slow it down, play the game, not always try to play the long ball. They want to score. And I understand. They’re down, they want to get it in, and they’re just kicking. I know where that’s coming from. We just have a lot of work to do.”