Archived Story

Young Flyers fall to New Boston in sectional tourney

Published 1:24am Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jim Walker


The St. Joseph Flyers began like the tortoise but finished like the hare.

The Flyers raced to a 2-0 lead early but saw the New Boston Tigers rally for a 5-2 win on Monday in the Division III sectional soccer tournament.

“We really rocked them back on their heels in the first half, but New Boston put one on the board in the closing minutes to make it 2-1 at halftime,” said Flyers’ coach Mike Arrington.

“We really had a lot of momentum at the start of the second half, but we broke down mentally 10 minutes in and allowed two quick goals to lose the lead.

St. Joseph jumped in front 2-0 on a pair of goals by Joseph Payton with assists from Blake Balestra on each goal.

New Boston got within 2-1 just before the half and got two quick goals to begin the second half, one on a questionable penalty kick.

The Tigers were later awarded two penalty kicks.

“We’ve been on the violation end of a lot of penalty kicks this season and that’s unfortunate. It really kills your momentum,” said Arrington. “But with young players, it dials their aggressive back to passive levels that compound your problems.”

Flyers’ goalie Joey Bush had eight saves to give him 130 on the season.

On Thursday, the Flyers fell 2-0 to Portsmouth Clay in a regular season game. Bush did have six saves for the Flyers.

“We played well against South Point two days earlier and I thought we would continue the momentum and play well against Clay,” said Arrington. “It was a wake-up call for our team and a great teaching point about how to focus and to be mentally ready for every game.”

St. Joseph closed out the regular season on Saturday with a 2-2 tied against the Greenup County Musketeers on senior day.

Payton — one of two seniors along with Shannon Litton — scored two unassisted goals for the Flyers. Bush had five saves.

“The first half we really came out to play by jumping ahead 2-0,” said Arrington. “But as so often that it happens with us, we lost focus in the second half and let the Musketeers back in it.”

Greenup scored on a penalty kick with 19 minutes left and tied the game in the closing minutes.

“We played hard, but we didn’t really play smart at times,” said Arrington.

Although the season ended on a downswing, Arrington noted that the Flyers will return most of their roster next year including the 11 freshmen.

“Once our 11 freshmen mature more — mentally and physically — they will surprise a lot of the teams in our district,” said Arrington.

Payton scored an amazing 32 goals this season and finished with 72 goals for his career, just three shy of the school record. Arrington noted that Payton missed four games at the end of last season due to an injury.

“Joseph was the quiet leader that led by example, both on and off the field with never a cross word to anyone whether it was a teammate, official or opponent. He was a true gentleman,” said Arrington.

“Shannon Litton was the backbone of our defense playing strong side left defender and stopper depending on our formation. He was the heart of the team in terms of emotion, humor and spark. He and Joseph were great captains. I could not have asked for better leaders.”

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