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Giants, Eagles split dramatic soccer matches

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SURPRISE!: Marion's Alex Riggs reacts as she is chased by teammates Morgan Hartman (1) and Taylor Kitts after Riggs scored the second goal of her career to give the Giants a 3-2 win over Oak Hill on Wednesday.
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BATTLE: Marion's Kevin Guy and Oak Hill's Thommy Seybold battle for position and possession in front of the Golden Eagles' goal. Gavin Holz scored the lone goal of the game in the Eagles' 1-0 win over the Giants.

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

CONVERSE — Alex Riggs couldn’t have found a better time to score the second goal of her high school soccer career.

Riggs, an aggressive senior defensive back for Marion, found the ball at her feet about 45 yards from the goal with just under four minutes to play on Wednesday in the opening game of the annual soccer doubleheader between the Giants and Oak Hill.

The Giants had already scored twice off the feet of Taylor Kitts in the second half to tie the match up with Oak Hill at 2-2.

Riggs said her thought process was pretty simple.

“I was thinking I don’t want to lose my senior year when we’ve won every other year,” she said, still wearing a bit of shock on her face from what had transpired just moments before. “It was getting down to it.

“It was right there and I said if this goes out its just a goal kick so there was no hurt in trying,” Riggs continued. “I was going to go for it. It paid off I guess.”

Paid off big time for her and the Giants. She unleashed a right-footed missile, reminiscent of the kind Kitts takes every game, and it sailed into right upper corner of the net with 3:57 giving Marion its first lead of the contest and ultimately a 3-2 win.

“I was really surprised,” Riggs said. “I was like wait, oh yeah it went in.”

The Golden Eagles took advantage of a pair of miscues by Giants’ defenders early in the contest, and both times junior Tegan Phillips took advantage and delivered the ball into the net, the second coming with 18:42 remaining in the first half giving the Eagles a 2-0 advantage.

Despite holding a 10-4 shot advantage over Oak Hill, Marion couldn’t get one of its six shots on goal past Eagles’ keeper Sierra Bakehorn, and the game stood at 2-0 at intermission.

Kitts worker her magic just 24 seconds into the second half with an unassisted goal cutting the Giants’ deficit in half.

Oak Hill maintained its one-goal advantage for the next 34 minutes, including Bakehorn leaping high to knock Kitts' potential equalizer away on a free kick with just over 23 minutes to play.

The Giants gained possession deep in Oak Hill territory with just under six minutes remaining and junior Olivia Lindsay delivered a through ball that Kitts ran onto and scored the equalizer, her 15th goal in seven matches this season, with with 5:34 to play.

“One of the things we’ve been dwelling on … our defenders have to contain, especially the better ball handlers,” said Oak Hill coach Alex Kenworthy. “Every time we blow that, every time we take a stab at the ball, we get beat and that’s when a goal happens. “It’s something we’ve been working on and we’re trying to develop more discipline in that respect.”

Bakehorn and Grace Rowland combined to make 10 saves.

“Our goalies played outstanding. It was just that last hit that got the best of us,” Kenworthy said.

Freshman Addison Weaver came off the bench and was also stout in goal for the Giants. She made six saves, including four in the second half to keep Marion within striking distance.

Giants coach Jacob Boggs wasn’t completely satisfied with his team’s effort, but happy they escaped with the win.

 

“I’m proud that we came back and won,” Boggs said. “To me that’s the difference between winners and champions. Champions have that attitude that we’re not losing. Period. I loved that fight.”

The drama in the girls' contest was just a prelude to what went down between in the boys' contest.

The Giants and Golden Eagles made it extremely tough for each other to find shots. Marion had four shots in the first half while Oak Hill attempted just one. Oak Hill goalie Sam Boyer made saves on both shots that were in the goal frame.

Tight, physical play continued through the second half and Marion goal Garrett Scher was kept a little bit busier, but still didn’t see a lot of shots his way.

But Oak Hill earned a corner kick less than seven minutes into the second half and that’s where the Eagles found the game winner.

Mark Sevier served the ball into the box from the corner, Scher knocked it away but Gavin Holz found the rebound and sent it into the net with 33:33 remaining to put the Eagles on top, 1-0.

That’s how the game would end, but not before the Giants had one last opportunity.

Kyle Coryea was fouled just outside Oak Hill’s 18-yard box earning a free kick with 13.6 seconds to play. Coryea unleashed a powerful, bending shot that bounded off the crossbar and allowed the final precious seconds to tick away.

Oak Hill's boys moved to 5-1-1 on the season and host Eastern on Sept. 12. The Eagles' girls (1-5-1) travel to Frankfort on Saturday.

Marion's boys (4-2) host Class 3A No. 19 Fishers at 7:30 p.m. today. The Giants girls' (4-2-1) host Anderson on Tuesday.