GREENVILLE – Even though Greenville lost 2-0 to Piqua Tuesday evening, coach Mark Coppess said it was the Green Wave’s best game of the season.
Coppess was especially pleased with the play of Greenville’s defense. Instead of chasing the ball, the Wave remained compact in their defense and played well together.
“We’ve been working on defense since last week,” the Greenville boys soccer coach said. “We’d been conceding a lot of silly goals this year. We’ve worked really hard on it the last few days, and it paid off tonight. And I think our confidence built from the back. Tonight was the best we’ve played all year. Very happy with them.”
Tuesday’s game was the second time this season that Greenville held an opponent to fewer than three goals. The other instance was on Aug. 31 when the Green Wave beat West Carrollton 4-1 for their lone victory of the season.
Freshman goalkeeper Austin Smith played a big part in Greenville’s success against Piqua as he made several diving stops throughout the night.
“Austin did a great job and had some really key saves tonight,” Coppess said. “For a freshman he’s doing really good. He’s come a long ways from the beginning of the season.”
Greenville’s biggest weakness Tuesday evening was its inability to score. The Wave, which have scored one goal in their last five games, had several opportunities against Piqua but just couldn’t get one into the back of the net.
“Couldn’t put them in there again,” Coppess said. “That was one thing we didn’t have trouble with at the beginning of the season, was scoring goals, and now we can’t score goals.”
It appeared Greenville had a goal midway through the first half on Tuesday, but it was negated by an offside penalty.
Just five minutes after Greenville missed its best scoring opportunity of the night, Piqua broke the scoreless tie with a goal by Cade Lyman – his team-leading 13th of the season, which is second most in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Piqua scored the game’s final goal approximately eight minutes into the second half when Spencer Lavey notched his second goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Greenville fell to 1-12-1 overall this season and 1-6-1 in the GWOC with Tuesday’s loss while Piqua improved to 7-3-1 overall and 6-2 in the conference.
Greenville will return to action with a home game against Sidney on Oct. 10. The Wave then will conclude the regular season on Oct. 12 with a home game against Troy.
“Two more games then tournament starts,” Coppess said. “Hopefully we can shore it up a little more and improve on it yet.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.