CENTENARY, Ohio — A day for defense.
The Gallia Academy and Point Pleasant girls soccer teams battled through 80 minutes of scoreless play on Thursday at Lester Field in Gallia County, leaving the second-ever meeting between the non-conference rivals as a draw.
In the first half, Point Pleasant (8-6-4) had six shots on goal, with Gallia Academy (12-3-1) not getting a shot on goal, but stopping all-6 PPHS tries. The Lady Knights earned a 4-to-1 edge in corner kicks in the first half, the last of which came with less than 20 seconds to play.
The guests also had six shots on goal in the second half, with Blue Angels goal keeper Alexis Nickels again stopped all-6 shots. GAHS had two shots on goal in the second half, but PPHS goal keeper Monica Cook stopped both to keep the scoreless tie. The Lady Knights claimed all-3 of the second half corner kicks.
The season series between these teams will go to the Lady Knights by a 1-0-1 tally, as the Red and Black earned a 4-0 victory over the first-year program on Aug. 28 at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
Following the match, PPHS head coach Chris Errett was happy with his team’s effort in controlling the game, despite not finding the goal.
“They played tough, they played hard, we controlled the game for the most part, just couldn’t find a way to put one in the back of the net,” Errett said. “We had our chances, not as many as the first time we played them, but we definitely had our chances and couldn’t cash in on them.”
Errett also talked about the GAHS defense keeping the Lady Knights from scoring when they were in the attack zone.
“They were organized defensively,” Errett said. “They kept numbers back behind the ball, which didn’t give us a lot of space up there in the attacking third. It was tough to find chances tonight, and the ones we did get, we couldn’t find a way to cash in on them.”
For Gallia Academy, head coach Leah Polcyn was proud of how her defense met the challenge of PPHS.
“I knew coming into this game they’d be working hard, they were going to be working overtime, they did and they came through,” Polcyn said. “My keeper came through as well, I couldn’t ask for anything more from my defense. They were under pressure 95 percent of the game, and we didn’t let (Point Pleasant) score. We really owe this tie to our defense.”
Polcyn noted that, after the first meeting with PPHS, a scoreless draw shows her team’s growth in the last 45 days.
“Of course I would have preferred a win, but the last time we played Point, they beat us 4-0,” said Polcyn. “For us to come out and have a scoreless game against them, I think it really shows how far we’ve come as a team. I’ll take a tie, I would have preferred a win, but I’ll take a tie.”
The Blue Angels — who wrapped up their unbeaten 8-0 campaign in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 2-0 win at Rock Hill on Tuesday — return to action in their first-ever sectional final, as third-seeded GAHS hosts sixth-seeded Athens at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Lester Field.
Point Pleasant plays at Scott in a make-up game on Friday, and then back on its home field against Spring Valley on Saturday. The Lady Knights open the postseason at home on Monday at 6:30 p.m. against Ravenswood.
This was the seventh time this season that GAHS has pitched a shut out, and the ninth time Point Pleasant has blanked an opponent.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.