Surprising aerial assault lifts HHS over Spring Valley, 5-2
HUNTINGTON -- Huntington High got three of its five goals from headers as the Highlanders executed on set pieces to take a boys soccer match over Spring Valley, 5-2, Tuesday evening.
At 5-foot-7, Max Simpson might not seem like a threat in the air.
But it was Simpson's head that found the back of the net twice in the first half to get the Highlanders rolling, once from a deep throw and again from a corner kick.
Both balls came from midfielder Matt Miller, who found Simpson's head at the near post in the 10th minute and 27th minute.
"He couldn't have served those in any better," Simpson said.
Simpson's lack of height makes him an unlikely target in the box during set pieces, which is what the Highlanders were counting on, Miller said.
"We have a play where we hit it near post, because that's where most teams don't cover," Miller said. "I was looking for Max because he's small and people don't cover him. He's an aerial threat on corners."
The Highlanders next goal came in a more traditional fashion not even a minute into the second half, as Jameson McCarthy broke away and crossed the ball to the feet of Huntington High's big striker Austin Preece. It was just Preece and Spring Valley keeper Jared Messer, and Preece had time to pick his spot and drill the ball into the back of the net.
Miller picked up another assist when his cross on a corner kick found the head of defender Nathan DeMoss, who put the ball past Messer.
The Timberwolves eventually countered in the 58th minute, as Colt Johnson headed a ball past Huntington High keeper Hunter Smith.
Huntington High struck once more, in the 71st minute, as a cross from John Minihan found Miller, who finally got a goal of his own, hammering the ball from the edge of the box and into the net.
"That felt wonderful," Miller said. "I mean, I like to give it out, but I like to get some for myself sometimes."
Spring Valley scored once more, as Jacob Maddox hit a penalty kick after a Timberwolves' player was fouled inside the box.
"That's just something that's beyond our control," Huntington High coach Sammy Boateng said.
Both teams had plenty of chances, but it was Huntington High that finished on those chances, and Boateng said he was proud of the way his team performed.
"Every team is going to get a chance, but the ones that are going to come out on top are those that execute and do what they're supposed to do," he said. "I've told them that if we work on it in practice, they won't have to worry about it in the game. They did exactly what they do in practice by concentrating, being composed and putting the ball in the back of the net.
"I'm really happy for the guys that got goals, but I'm happier for those guys that did the work off the ball and got those guys in position to score."
SPRING VALLEY 0 2 -- 2
HUNTINGTON HIGH 2 3 -- 5
H -- Simpson (Miller) 10th minute
H -- Simpson (Miller) 27th minute
H -- Preece (McCarthy) 41st minute
H -- DeMoss (Miller) 51st minute
SV -- Johnson, 58th minute
H -- Miller (Minihan) 71st minute
SV -- Maddox (penalty kick) 74th minute
Shots: SV 13 (7 on target), H 27 (12 on target). Corners: SV 4, H 5. Saves: SV 7 (Messer), H 5 (Smith).