Webb’s first career goal sends Kingsway past Clearview in OT

When Zach Webb suddenly found himself on the field Tuesday afternoon in a huge rivalry game, his main priority was to not stand out because of a glaring error.

He did end up finding the spotlight – but for all the right reasons.

Webb scored the game-winning goal just over four minutes into overtime to lift the Kingsway boys soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Clearview in Tri-County Conference Royal Division action.

Chris Spicer also scored an assisted on the game-winner as the Dragons improved to 2-2-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the division. The Pioneers suffered their first loss and fell to 3-1 overall and in the Royal.

“We had a corner kick and I have height so they told me to go up and try to score a goal,” said Webb, a sophomore defender. “But it wasn’t even a header; it was on the ground. I was in the right spot at the right time and I hit it and it went in. That was my first varsity goal and it was a great feeling.”

Spicer, a senior striker, collected the ball off the corner kick and did not hesitate in setting up his young teammate, who was all alone near the top of the box.

“I didn’t have an angle on that shot,” Spicer said. “I knew if I shot it would not have gone in and would have hit off a defender. So I went to my next best option and got it to the kid. I know he hasn’t played much but I had trust in him and he scored a great goal.”

The fact that Webb was even in the game was a surprise. He entered with about 24 minutes remaining in regulation to replace starting outside back Pat Roche, who suffered a high ankle sprain.

The underclassman also played well defensively and showed no sign of nerves.

“I saw him get hurt and I was scared at first,” Webb said. “But as soon as I got into the game I got right into my mode. I just tried to not make any mistakes and keep it simple and it turned out well.”

The thrilling win helped Kingsway avenge a pair of one-goal losses to Clearview last year, including one in overtime.

“We always have memorable games,” Kingsway coach John Green said. “Last year when they were here they scored a goal from far out (to win). This year we have a sub who has been great and would probably be starting most years (and he scores the game-winner). Zach slid right in. That’s been the mentality we’ve had – next man up.”

Spicer opened the scoring for Kingsway in the 15th minute. His shot from inside the box to the right of the goal deflected off a defender and into the far top corner for his second goal of the season.

“As a striker I’ve been struggling to find the back of the net,” he said. “I haven’t really been taking enough shots so in this game I thought about putting my head down, attacking the net and putting some shots on goal. It took a deflection and went back post, but I’ll still count it as my goal. It felt good.”

Clearview got the equalizer about 10 minutes before halftime. Cody Scully sent the ball into the box and Joshua Oladipo beat Kingsway keeper Jason Grandizio to it on the right side. He then crossed it to a wide-open Mike Errico, and the freshman deposited it into the empty net for his first career goal.

“That was a nice play and a nice finish,” Clearview coach Dodd Terry said. “Any time you get a freshman on varsity it’s exciting. We also have great senior leadership with Cody Scully and Jake Gamber. Cody is always in the mix.”

Scully is one of the only Pioneers with varsity experience, as they graduated seven all-conference players and 14 total seniors from last year’s division championship squad. But they are still off to a strong start and seem to be a Royal contender once again.

“It’s exciting in that respect,” Terry said. “There’s a lot of new faces and we’re just trying to get better each game. I love our team this year; they’re a great group to work with. We had an outstanding team last year with such a large and talented senior class. But I’m a blessed coach. We have a very deep junior class and in other years they would have played more on varsity as sophomores. They’re working hard, they enjoy playing and we’re trying to play to a standard and keep improving throughout the season.”

For Kingsway – which already has a loss and a tie in the division – Tuesday’s win was crucial for its division title hopes, as the Dragons could not afford to fall further behind the Pioneers.

“This was a big conference game against our rival, who was undefeated, and to come out with a 2-1 win in overtime is big for us,” Spicer said. “We’ve been moving the ball and doing everything right; we just haven’t been able to find the back of the net. I think after this game we’ll be able to thrive for the rest of the season.”

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