MINGO JUNCTION - Senior Sierra Porter scored five goals to lead the Steubenville girls' soccer team to a 7-4 victory over host Indian Creek Saturday afternoon on the opening day of the season.
"It is very nice to start the season with a win," fourth-year Big Red (1-0) head coach Jared Robinson said. "We had a hard week with three scrimmages due to scheduling. It was nice to get a win on the first day of the season. It is nice to get a victory under our belts, especially against a team from our area. Indian Creek played very hard. They represented their school very well.
"We had a couple of letdowns when we got up, and they were able to capitalize. They were not going to quit and they were going to continue to play hard.
"We passed the ball well. We moved well."
The Redskins are a young and inexperienced team.
"We have 20 girls out, 12 of them are freshmen and 10 have never played organized soccer before," first-year Indian Creek head coach Gene Ciciarelli said. "This is a learning experience for them. We had good spacing. We did what we needed to do.
"We have to learn to kick with a purpose. They are going to get it."
Ciciarelli was an assistant coach last year under former head coach Jessica Bennett.
"This is different from basketball and softball, but I have really fallen in love with the sport," Ciciarelli said.
Big Red's seven goals is a team-high since Robinson has been head coach.
"That is a new one for us," Robinson said. "I am very proud of the girls.
"We were up, and they scored. We responded to score in the next three minutes. That shows we are able to respond with goals when teams score on us, and it shows the girls have the attitude to not get down."
Porter tallied a hat trick in the first half as Big Red built a 4-1 advantage at halftime. Porter collected two more in the second half.
"I definitely was not expecting to score five goals going into the game," Porter said. "I have a lot of good girls to back me up. They have a lot of speed, and they are athletic. I think we can go far. I think we can go farther than we did last season."
Porter's five goals are almost the most a player has scored in a game since Robinson has been head coach.
"I think our highest has been four," Robinson said. "I think two girls have scored four."
Also for the victors, junior Marissa Howcroft contributed a goal and an assist, sophomore Emma Cotter netted a goal and junior Hannah Masloski added an assist. Sophomore goalie Gillian Haught tallied two saves.
"It was a team effort," Robinson said. "We improved on what we needed to improve on. We want to improve every day.
"The girls represented the school well. They represented the school the way they are supposed to."
Freshman Madelyn Yoho netted two goals for Indian Creek at Muth Field. Classmate Kelsey Lewis scored one as did senior Jalyn Thompson. Thompson also delivered an assist as did classmate Marissa DeFallo. Freshman Katie Scott collected eight saves in goal. Playing as a defender, Thompson collected one when he cleared a ball off of the line in the second half.
"I'm happy," Ciciarelli said. "The girls played as a team. The girls communicated well. They supported each other. They didn't yell at each other. They showed good sportsmanship today.
"We battled against a respectable team today."
Howcroft put Big Red on the scoreboard when she scored on a direct kick about four minutes into the contest making the score 1-0. Porter produced the final three goals of the half for the visitors.
Porter scored her first goal about 21 minutes into the game increasing Big Red's lead to 2-0, and she tallied another goal about a minute later.
Yoho put Indian Creek on scoreboard with a goal about 30 minutes into the first half to cut the hosts deficit to 3-1.
The Redskins are going to rely on their older and more experienced players to lead the way for the younger and less experienced ones.
"We lost eight seniors last year," Ciciarelli said. "I don't look at this year as a rebuilding year. The girls are really starting to enjoy soccer. They really want to do well. You can see it in their eyes.
"Hopefully, all 12 stay. We have about eight good eighth graders who will be coming into the program next year. The future looks bright, Lord willing.
"I am excited."
Big Red regained the three-goal advantage when Porter struck again about three minutes before halftime.
Indian Creek and Big Red both tallied goals in the first four minutes of the second half. The Redskins struck first with a goal three minutes in to make the score 4-2, but Big Red answered right back one minute later to regain a three-goal lead for the third time in the game.
Big Red extended its lead to 6-2 four minutes later.
Trailing by four, the Redskins responded by scoring the next two goals to make the score 6-4. The first goal came on a penalty kick about 15 minutes into the second stanza, and Indian Creek netted another 16 minutes later to cut its deficit to two goals.
"We were down 6-2, and we scored two goals to make it 6-4," Ciciarelli said. "If we scored the next goal, who knows what would have happened.
"Big Red capitalized on some mistakes. They made some nice plays when they needed to."
Big Red capped the scoring about four minutes later.
"Coach Chick is doing a good job with the Indian Creek girls," Robinson said. "They really battled."
Indian Creek welcomes Beaver Local at 5 p.m. Monday, while Big Red entertains Cambridge at 6 p.m. Tuesday.