ASHLAND Improved Ashland had the attention of the 16th Region’s defending boys soccer champs Tuesday night.
One-loss Boyd County broke a tie with 25:54 remaining and went on to defeat the one-win Tomcats 3-1 at Ashland Soccer Complex.
“They gave us every single thing we wanted and more,” Boyd County coach Logan Price said of the Tomcats. “You could tell they are well-coached. All their players were being active and encouraging. I feel very happy to get out with a district win.”
First-year Ashland coach Preston Freeman saw his team continue to make strides with Tuesday’s performance.
“It’s very encouraging,” said Freeman, a former All-State goalkeeper for the Tomcats. “The kids were stepping up. They played strong today. We got back to the basics this season and their cohesiveness with each other has gotten a lot better.”
Ashland pulled even at 1-1 in the 46th minute. Junior Calyx Holmes put in a shot after the ball trickled out of the grasp of Boyd County goalkeeper Jack Samuel.
However, the night belonged to Boyd County senior Ronnie Totten. His hat trick accounted for the match’s other three goals.
“I have to brag on our captain,” Price said. “I’ve been on Ronnie to give us that extra push. There are times when you have to pick it up, bring added energy. He really worked hard that second half.”
Totten scored the tiebreaking goal with 25:54 remaining on the scoreboard clock. Boyd County worked the ball wide to Grant Chaffin on the right wing and the sophomore sent the ball toward the far post. Totten arrived with perfect timing to head it into the net.
“Grant hit a beautiful ball,” Price said. “Ronnie came flying in like a madman.”
Totten added his 11th goal of the season on a penalty kick. It came in the 63rd minute after teammate Dayne Lawson was fouled inside the box.
“Coach Price wants me to play to the best I can do and lead the team,” Totten said. “Tonight I showed more of that, what I can be.”
Totten nearly connected on a fourth goal in the closing minutes, but his shot caromed off the post. Ashland also came up empty-handed on some opportunities down the stretch.
“They were ready to play,” Totten said. “They wanted to beat us. We started out on our heels, got our footwork and took them.”
Boyd County won for the sixth time in seven games.
“I feel like my defense played well tonight,” Price said. “We put another formation in that will help us later in the season.”
Early in the match, Price’s T-shirt was already soaked with perspiration after a scorching afternoon.
“I’m going to have to start bringing extra shirts to the games,” he said. “It shows I’m working, I guess.”
The teams will meet again Sept. 19 in Cannonsburg.
“This was a tough loss for our guys because we were in that game,” Freeman said. “We look forward to playing them again.”
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