PROCTORVILLE, Ohio — Isaiah Lester, in all likelihood, had the biggest goal of his young life on Thursday night.
That’s because Lester — Gallia Academy’s standout senior soccer striker — landed the match’s only goal with less than a minute remaining, giving the Blue Devils a colossal 1-0 Ohio Valley Conference victory against the host Fairland Dragons.
Amid poor field conditions at Fairland thanks to Thursday’s rain, the Blue Devils did pitch a shutout — their first in the OVC.
But despite doubling up the Dragons in shots 13-6, and blanking them in corner kicks 10-0, the Blue Devils didn’t get on the board until under a minute to play.
That’s when Lester was fouled inside the goalbox and awarded a penalty kick, which he took and made for the 1-0 win.
For Lester, it was his team-leading 23rd goal on the season — and the one that gave Gallia Academy an all-important OVC triumph.
“It was a hard game due to the field condition and the weather, but we fought all the way to the last second. I love every player on my team,” said GAHS coach Richard Isberner. “One step closer to winning the league.”
The Blue Devils are now 8-4-0, but inched closer to the conference championship in the first year for soccer in the league.
Gallia Academy is 6-0-0 and still leading the OVC — and can clinch no worse than a share of the crown with a win over visiting South Point this Thursday (Oct. 6).
The Pointers put up four goals on the Blue Devils in their initial meeting, but the Blue and White rallied for a 5-4 win in that particular contest.
With the shutout against the Dragons, Gallia Academy has outscored its OVC opposition 25-8.
The Blue Devils have allowed one goal apiece in each of their other four league tilts.
Lester’s goal was also Gallia Academy’s first in almost 113 minutes of game time.
The club’s last point prior to Thursday night was also a Lester penalty kick — at Athens on Tuesday with 32 minutes remaining.
Lester and Pedro Carrascal took five shots apiece for the Blue Devils, while Gallia Academy goalkeeper Caden Wilt made two saves.
The Blue Devils defeated Fairland 2-1 in the two teams’ first matchup, as Gallia Academy led 2-0 at halftime — before the Dragons drilled home a penalty kick with 13 minutes to play.
Gallia Academy returns home, and returns to now non-league action, on Tuesday night (Oct. 4) against Warren.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106