STUART — It was a physical war for much of the night, but in the end the Creston Panthers took a 1-0 overtime victory over host West Central Valley boys here Thursday.
With 23 seconds left in the first overtime, the Panthers finally broke the scoreless deadlock in a scramble off a throw-in by Levi Eblen. Freshman Ben Irr settled the ball with a touch, and then blasted it into the net from about 35 yards out.
“The ball kind of knuckled and the keeper lost it in the air, and it it went over his head,” Creston coach Jesus Rodriguez said. “Give credit to our defense. No goals. They played great. It was nice to have Tayler Pettit back. Brant Hudson played his best game of the season, and Kaleb Cook did great, too.”
Conner Pals had four total shots on a night when offensive runs were difficult to generate.
“We couldn’t pass the ball without getting bumped from behind, or knocked over,” Rodriguez said. “Finally, they got a couple of yellow cards, and we started playing our game a little more.”
Alex Nielsen had six saves in the shutout victory.
The JV squads played one half that ended in a 1-1 tie. Skylar Cook got the Creston goal on an assist by Tyler Helm. Jake Miller was goalkeeper.
The makeup home match against Underwood will be Tuesday, followed by Denison-Schleswig in a girl-boy doubleheader on Thursday. Both opponents are among the toughest on the schedule this season. Underwood, ranked 14th in Class 1A, earlier beat Atlantic, 5-4. Denison is considered a top conference contender this year with several all-conference returnees.
Creston 1, W. Central Valley 0 OT
Creston (1) — Ben Irr :23 first overtime. Shots on goal — 8. Individual shots — Conner Pals 2, McClain Haines 2, Irr 2, Cook 1, Gavin Woods 1. Keeper saves — Alex Nielsen 6. Cards — Pals (Y).
WCV (0) — Cards — 3 (Y).