MCGRAW — The host McGraw boys’ soccer team scored the first goal of the game against visiting Cincinnatus Wednesday afternoon, but then Connor Stafford took over.
The Red Lions’ senior forward did the rest of the scoring as his team improved to 2-0 in the Central Counties League and 3-3 overall with a 3-1 victory.
The DeRuyter boys lost 2-0 to host Stockbridge Valley in another CCL game while Otselic Valley, still mourning the untimely passing of goalie Carter Rood, lost 4-0 at Brookfield.
Cincinnatus 3, McGraw 1: Evan Ignatowski got the scoring started for the Eagles (2-2 league and overall) off a set piece, heading home a feed from Kevin Shorts seven minutes into the game. Stafford equalized unassisted seven minutes later after a solo run, hitting the upper right corner from around 20 yards out. There was no further first-half scoring.
Stafford got the game-winner from close range 15 minutes into the second half after a feed from deep on the right side from John Tomlinson, and closed things out by converting a through ball from Nolan Rice with 14 minutes left.
Cincy had a 26-6 shot advantage and got four saves from goalie Jeffrey Rice. Tyler Card and Dakota Stauber shared time in goal for McGraw and made 17 and four saves, respectively.
“We had four or five golden opportunities in the first half that we couldn’t put away,” Red Lions coach Gordy Brown said. “I got on them pretty hard at halftime about being timid the first 10 minutes; they need to take the game to the other team and not sit back. But they’ve come a long way just since the first day of practice. Connor led us and John stood out today. He did a great job for us.”
“We gave McGraw a couple of golden opportunities too, and have to play better team defense. McGraw is dangerous on set pieces, which I mentioned at halftime.”
“We came out really strong and were able to press them, getting in some good crosses and creating chances,” McGraw coach Jamey Crumb said. “Instead of gaining momentum after Evan’s goal we got complacent and laid back, allowing Cincy to dictate play. We came out flat in the second half and Cincy was possessing well and beating us to the ball. Caden Stafford was able to attack our space and was a great playmaker for them. Our defense was on its heels for a majority of the second half and just lost their marks on the last two goals.”
McGraw was slated to face Blessed Virgin Mary Academy at 4:30 p.m. today in the first round of the Hamilton Optimists Tournament. Cincy travels to Otselic Valley Friday for a 6:30 p.m. league contest.
Stockbridge Valley 2, DeRuyter 0: Andrew Renner scored both goals for the Cougars (2-1, 3-2), converting a first-half penalty kick and scoring from close range off the post six minutes into the second half. Hayden Bush made 17 saves in goal for the Rockets (0-3, 0-5), who were outshot 18-15. Wyatt Reed stopped 14 shots for Stockbridge Valley.
“We came out flat and it cost us. We were slow to the ball and they won the majority of 50/50 balls in the first 30 minutes,” DeRuyter coach Matt Skeele said. “We were just sloppy from the start, but seemed to wake up after the PK call. We finished the half better with some chances, but just couldn’t put one in.
“It was a better second half with back and forth action. We possessed the ball and looked better after their second goal, with some very good chances and shots on goal, including a penalty kick that their keeper made a good save on with eight minutes left in the game.”
The Rockets visit Brookfield Monday in a 4:30 p.m. start.