CENTENARY, Ohio — A dominant defense, a fortunate bounce and an early nail in the coffin.
The Gallia Academy girls soccer program made the most of its first-ever home contest on Thursday night with an impressive 2-0 victory over visiting Fairland in an Ohio Valley Conference friendly at Lester Field.
The host Blue Angels (4-1, 2-0 OVC) produced the first 10 shots of regulation and held the Lady Dragons (2-2, 1-1) without a single shot attempt until less than four minutes remained in the opening half.
Still, despite taking early control of the tempo, the Blue and White struggled to find any sort of success on the offensive side of the field.
That is, of course, until the 13th minute when Gallia Academy caught a break with a proverbial lucky bounce.
Freshman Preslee Reed came away with a steal on the offensive side of midfield and booted the ball towards the Fairland goal from just inside the midfield circle.
The ball covered roughly 30 yards in the air and took a large hop after hitting the ground.
FHS keeper Olivia Hastings started to come out of the goal as the ball was coming down, but the bounce made her retreat back to her originial position before leaping to get a hand on the ball.
In coming down, Hastings’ foot and arm with the ball in hand both crossed the line in the goal. Hastings tried to balance herself from falling in the goal, but ultimately lost her balance.
Reed’s goal with 27:03 remaining in the opening half gave the Blue Angels a 1-0 advantage headed into the break.
The hosts — who outshot Fairland by an 11-2 margin in the first half, including a 6-1 edge on goal — secured control of the outcome in the 50th minute as Reed again found the back of the net.
Using a direct kick from around 22 yards out on the right corner, Reed floated a perfect ball into the opposite high corner of the goal — giving GAHS a 2-0 advantage with 30:19 left in regulation.
The Lady Dragons were limited in their opportunities as the guests mustered only three attempts on goal out of seven total shots. Gallia Academy, conversely, produced 18 total shots — with a dozen of thos ending up on goal.
The Blue Angels claimed a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks and both teams were whistled one time apiece for being offsides.
Senior Alexis Nickels made three saves in picking up the shutout win in net for the hosts. Hastings stopped 10 shots in goal for the Green and White.
GAHS coach Leah Polcyn was pleased with the way the evening worked out, particularly with the game being the home debut for the varsity girls program.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the girls with what they did tonight. You know, it’s the first home game and it was a pretty important league game for us to gauge where we are, so this outcome is pretty big for us for a lot of reasons,” Polcyn said. “The girls are happy because it’s history, winning that first game at Lester Field. It was hot, it was spirited and it wasn’t necessarily the prettiest game, but it was the outcome we were hoping for. We’ll take it and move on.”
The Blue Angels return to action Thursday when they host Rock Hill at 5:30 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.