GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — Talk about persistence paying off.
The Gallia Academy soccer team outshot host Ohio Valley Christian by a sizable 23-10 overall margin, and those extra chances paid big dividends down the stretch Tuesday night during a 6-1 non-conference victory at the First Baptist Church Soccer Field in the Old French City.
The Blue Devils (1-0-0) never trailed in the contest, as the guests needed just eight minutes in regulation to establish an early advantage after freshman Isaiah Lester netted a rebound for a 1-0 GAHS edge.
Both the Defenders (1-1-0) and Blue Devils tightened up their defense during the rest of the first half, and neither team managed another goal before the intermission — allowing GAHS to lay claim to a slim 1-0 cushion at the break.
The score remained that way until 64th minute, as Sammy Hemphill found the back of the net on an unassisted goal with 16:13 left in regulation — giving the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead.
The cushion ballooned to 3-0 three minutes later after Jacob Click scored on a rebound from a penalty kick with 13:20 left in regulation.
The Defenders, however, countered with their only goal of the night a minute later, as Evan Bowman lofted a shot over the head of GAHS keeper Alex Greer with 12:09 left for a 3-1 contest. T.G. Miller had an assist on the OVCS goal.
The Blue Devils retaliated with 10:01 left in the contest as John Michael Roberts netted a crossing pass from Jacob McCormick, giving the guests a comfortable 4-1 edge.
Gallia Academy added its final two goals in the final minute of regulation, as Lester scored an unassisted goal with 47.9 seconds left and Click added his second goal six seconds later to wrap up the 6-1 decision.
GAHS, with the victory, claimed its first regular season victory over the Defenders since claiming an 8-1 decision back on August 26, 2010. The Blue Devils were winless against OVCS in their previous four matchups.
Gallia Academy claimed a small 5-4 edge in corner kicks. Greer made three saves in net for GAHS, while Marshall Hood stopped 17 shots for the Defenders during the setback.