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Flyers shut down Minford to reach district soccer finals


The St. Joseph Flyers celebrate their 2-1 Division 3 district soccer tournament semifinal win over the Minford Falcons on Saturday. From left to right, Bryson Burcham (20), Max Weber (44) Matthew Sheridan (11), Will Whaley (1), J.C. Damron (5), and Zachary Johnson. (Photo By Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

IRONTON — The St. Joseph Flyers have a goal and they are working as hard as they can to try an achieve it.
After finishing as district runners-up last season, the Flyers set a goal of returning to the district finals but getting a win this time.
The Flyers took a big step in that direction on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Minford Falcons in the Division 3 district soccer semifinals.
“We played very well today. The boys left it all on the field,” said Flyers’ coach Mike Balestra.
“I was proud of our character in an adverse situation and not letting it effect how we played. It was a great team effort.”
St. Joseph (17-0-1) now play Lynchburg in the district finals at Waverly High School at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The Flyers took a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals by Bryce Balestra and Matthew Sheridan. Jackson Rowe had an assist on each goal.
Minford (10-4-4) struggled to score against the Flyers’ defense. The Falcons only goal was by Adam Crank on a questionable penalty kick.
“We maintained possession most of the first half. The second half Minford came out more aggressive, but our defense had them shut out until we gave up the penalty kick,” said coach Balestra.
“We didn’t fold after that. We just didn’t let them score anymore. Minford is a very good team. They are strong, fast and physical.”
The Flyers’ goalkeeper Jimmy Mahlmeister had six saves as Minford took 12 shots with seven on goal. St. Joseph took 15 shots with 11 on goal.
Minford goalie Jesse Cantrell had nine saves.
Minford 0 1 = 1
St. Joseph 2 0 = 2
First Half
SJ – Bryce Balestra (assist Jackson Rowe)
SJ – Matthew Sheridan (assist Jackson Rowe)
Second Half
Mn – Adam Crank (penalty kick)
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Game Statistics
Saves – MHS: Jesse Cantrell 9; SJ: Jimmy Mahlmeister 6
Shots – Minford 12, St. Joseph 15
Shots on Goal – Minford 7, St. Joseph 11
Fouls – Minford 11, St. Joseph 15
Offside – Minford 1, St. Joseph 4
Corner kicks – Minford 3, St. Joseph 5