Skaggs’ goals key as Braves blank Stars in tourney

    Bellmont used a pair of second half goals to fashion a 2-0 victory over South Adams in the opening game of the IHSAA boys soccer sectional at the Bellmont field Thursday night.
    After a scoreless first half, the drought was broken just two minutes into the second half as Jon Skaggs was able to pull an off-balance shot just inside the goal off a pass from Allayar Akmuradov. The second goal came with 30:11 remaining in the game as Jacob Schueler made a throw-in that carried over 30 yards in the air and found Skaggs located just inside the penalty box. Receiving the ball, Skaggs fired a rocket inside the near post past SA keeper L. J. Moser's reaching dive.
    The match had a different tone than the regular season encounter between the two teams that also was won by Bellmont 7-3. Neither team seemed to press hard against the other in the first half with Bellmont retaining possession for most of the time. On a rare occasion, South Adams would break free for an offensive spurt. To the Starfires' credit, even with the BHS offensive pressure most of the half, the SA defense held the game scoreless.
    The tempo shifted in the second half with both teams finding a greater sense of urgency and possession between the teams started to balance. Bellmont finished the game with 11 shots on goal with Moser making nine saves. Bellmont's Corey Marbach was credited with five saves in goal to preserve the shutout victory.
    Bellmont had nine corner kicks to four for South Adams and officials called nine fouls on the Braves to five for the Starfires. The Bellmont team now sports a record of 7-9-1 for the year while South Adams finished at 3-14-1.
    In the other game played Thursday in the Bellmont sectional, Norwell cashed in three first half goals and then cruised to a final 3-0 verdict over the Heritage Patriots.
    Norwell scored first on a forward pass by Damon Topp through the Heritage defense and Brandon Johnson converted the score on a shot to the near post. The second goal came as Jaron Moser won the ball on a goal kick and then dribbled in to drive a shot just under Heritage keeper Bryan Shuler for a 2-0 edge. The final tally was recorded when Adam Datema booted a high lob forward ball from the center line into the penalty area where Briar Bolinger was able to receive the ball and score.
    Norwell is 7-9 for the season while Heritage concluded action at 4-10-3.
    The championship game of the Bellmont sectional is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the BHS soccer stadium with Bellmont and Norwell vying for the right to advance to regional play.