ASHVILLE — On his 18th birthday, it was Justin Snyder who provided presents for his Logan Chieftains soccer teammates.
And if, at the very least, the Logan senior didn’t get serenaded with a couple rounds of “happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you” by his teammates after Logan’s 2-1 victory over host Teays Valley Saturday night, he certainly should have.
What a memorable night it was for Snyder, who not only scored his first two goals of the season but the first two goals of his entire varsity career in helping the Purple & White win and square their season record at 3-3.
“It was Justin’s birthday and he scores his first two varsity goals,” said Logan coach Ian Riddlebarger. “I told him we should make every game day his birthday!”
Snyder scored 13:35 into the match. James Smith received on the left flank and dribbled inside, where he played a 1-2 with Toby Stewart at the top of the box before sliding a pass across the right for Snyder to finish off. It was Smith’s third assist of the season.
That 1-0 score held through the intermission.
“Neither team really put lots of pressure on the other team’s goal,” Riddlebarger said. “Much of the half seemed to be played in the midfield. They had some success on quick transitions and we were able to move the ball around well, taking advantage of our numbers up in the middle area. We just weren’t able to generate the final piece to create more goal-scoring chances.”
Riddlebarger pointed out the Vikings (4-2) changed their shape in the second half and came out to seize early momentum early and nearly scoring the equalizer.
Less than five minutes into the half, the Vikings won a corner and “we didn’t challenge their attacker on the end of the ball into the box,” Riddlebarger noted. A header beat Logan keeper Tegan Myers but clanged off the crossbar to keep the score 1-0.
Just 44 seconds later, however, a misplay by a Logan defender left Teays Valley’s Zach Snyder free in the Logan box to easily place the ball into the far-side netting to level the score.
“We continued to press and eventually were able to pull back in front,” Riddlebarger said.
With 22:55 remaining, Snyder was on the end of a pass from Riley Primmer and found himself facing down the TV keeper.
“Once again, he coolly slotted the ball past him,” Riddlebarger said as Logan took a 2-1 lead and protected that advantage the rest of the way.
Happy birthday, Justin Snyder, happy birthday indeed.
Riddlebarger noted that while the Chiefs had a couple mental lapses, “I thought the kids played one of our better games collectively. Everyone who got on the field made important contributions today. Our back line stepped up and gave us more stability.
“Christian (Swart) and Bailey (Taggart) were strong in the midfield,” he added. “Guys came off the bench, Stephan (Walker), Lucas (Sheridan), Aiden (Borer), Zach (Chapin) and Jack (Ireton) and gave us good minutes. We went up against a strong opponent and were able to play our game fairly well.”
The Chiefs only created seven shots, however, something Riddlebarger said they need to improve upon in future outings, starting Tuesday when they play their Mid-Ohio Valley Soccer League opener at Warren.
“We do need to create more looks at goal,” Riddlebarger said.
“We handled the adversity of conceding the equalizer in the second half and didn’t let it drag us down,” he added. “I’m proud of them and hope we can build off of this. Our first league game is Tuesday and we need to carry the momentum into that game.”
Myers made five saves in goal for the winners.
Reserves play to tie: Logan and Teays Valley played to a 2-2 deadlock in the junior varsity contest. Hunter Fickel had both goals for the Chiefs (2-1-2), with Eli Ennis assisting on the first and Fickel’s second tally coming on a penalty kick.