Thanks to a pair of goals by Nolan Risner in the early minutes of each half, Delta outlasted Archbold 2-1 in a Northwest Ohio Athletic League boys soccer match at Ruihley Park Tuesday.
With the victory, the Panthers improve to 3-0 in the league while the Blue Streaks suffer their first league blemish.
“It’s a big one,” said Delta coach KJ Abair of the win. “Archbold’s always a tough one. But, this is our first time ever beating them here at Archbold.
“Had them two years ago 2-0 and in the last six minutes we let them score two goals and tie us. And then last year was a great game (4-3 Delta win). Archbold always plays all 80 minutes. All the way to the end. They’re fast, physical, they are a great team.”
Scoring both Panther goals was Risner. The senior put them on top with a finish from the left side just less than three minutes into the contest, and later scored the go-ahead goal in the first minute of the second half.
“He’s a big part of the team. He’s a big threat. Everybody knows it when we play them,” Abair said. “He’s like the most unselfish player. So I can’t believe he scored (both our goals), because, he has probably the least amount of goals — he has the most assists by far. But he always wants to just get the assist, especially on a breakaway, he’ll just flip it over and that’s just how the kid is. He’s gonna be a big loss next year for sure.”
Ethan Stuckey hammered home a goal for Archbold with 33 seconds left in the opening half that tied the game at 1-1. However, Delta would not let that score last for very long after intermission.
Just like in the beginning, Risner was able to find the back of the net only 56 seconds into the second half, giving the Panthers the lead they would not relinquish.
“I just tell them all the time, I’m like, ‘we’ve got to score first in the first five minutes,’” explained Abair. “That’s always our thing. Come out strong in the second half, score in the first five minutes. Set a tone.”
The Streaks were eager to tie the game in the latter portion of the second half.
With around 10:30 left, they had a pair of shots on goal that were saved by Delta goalkeeper Brodey Roth. Archbold had multiple corner kicks in the waning moments as well, including Lance Ramirez’ at the 4:27 mark that found the leg of Brodie Dominique whose shot caromed off the left post.
Coach Abair was definitely feeling the pressure of the moment from the sidelines.
“When they (Archbold) kick corners it makes me so nervous. They are such a good corner kick team and we are the worst team ever to defend corner kicks. So my heart was beating,” he said.
But in the end his team was able to pull through.
Delta is now off until next Saturday, Sept. 24, when they take on Clay on the road. Archbold hosts Defiance this Saturday at 5 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.