By Ryan buck
For the first time ever Wednesday night, Crestview’s boys soccer team played under the lights at the Zachary Garwood Soccer Complex. With the Inter Tri-County League title on the line against visiting United, it was the Rebels’ time to shine.
Tony Marr scored on a penalty kick at the 15-minute mark giving Crestview a lead it would not relinquish, en route to a 4-1 win and sole possession of first place in the conference entering the final week of the regular season.
“Everyone on our team knew the magnitude of the game and they all stepped up,” said Marr, one of six seniors on the Rebels.
Marr, looked to first on penalty kicks, stood over the ball and eyed an early advantage for his team.
“At that point, I knew it was critical and could be a turning point,” Marr said. “I was focused on hitting the ball square.”
His shot beat United goalkeeper Tucker Widlicka to his left and found the corner netting.
“The referees saw a hit in the box and they took our guy down or whatever,” said Crestview coach Jonathan Kinkead. “That was huge that we got a momentum-builder like that in the first 15 minutes of the game.”
Crestview continued its attack throughout the first half, challenging Widlicka at every opportunity. The Golden Eagles’ sophomore goalkeeper denied Greg Bable’s attempt at the 8:40 mark of the first half, then deflected wide what looked to be Marr’s second goal of the night a minute later.
“Tucker did a great job,” said his brother and United’s coach, Spencer Widlicka. “He’s been solid all year for us.”
United looked to escape the first half with a one-goal deficit when Crestview took advantage of a corner kick to Widlicka’s left. Joey Mellinger deflected Tobin Goss’ well-placed cross for a 2-0 lead.
Facing a daunting deficit, United were the aggressors in the second half. With 30 minutes remaining, Anders Holand dribbled hard from the left side of Crestview’s penalty area. He unleashed a low drive that Rebels’ goalie Nick Dean kicked away.
The Rebels quickly counter-attacked into the waiting feet of Marr, who fed Bable to the right of United’s goal. He poked the ball in front and Goss deftly pushed it past Widlicka.
With 15 minutes remaining, Holand finally connected. His left-footed shot found the back of the net to cut Crestview’s lead to 3-1.
Holand continued his runs into the box and the Rebels’ swarming defenders. Spencer Widlicka believed two missed chances were not his team’s fault.
“If you’re going to give one weak [penalty] in the box, the next one’s gotta be the same thing,” he said. “But you can’t really fight that too much. I was proud of the boys how they still played. They didn’t let the refs get them down, on the field.”
With 40 seconds left, Bable netted Crestview’s fourth goal.
As the lights dimmed and the incessant humming of the lights’ generators slowed, Kinkead could only bask in his team’s performance. South Range’s tie with East Palestine on Wednesday lifted Crestview into first place in the ITCL.
“I thought instead of buying a piece of clothing, we could do something like this,” Kinkead said. “I thought the lights worked out well.”