By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
PIQUA — If a state championship were on the line, the heart and effort wouldn’t have been any better.
Piqua and Sidney went toe-to-toe for 80 minutes on the Wertz Stadium soccer pitch, with neither team able to score in a 0-0 tie in Miami Valley League soccer action Tuesday night.
“I can’t say enough about the way the kids played,” Piqua coach Bob Jennings said. “We have only beaten Sidney once. They really played a great game tonight.”
And it is fitting that the biggest play of the night involved both goalies.
Piqua was called for a foul in the box with 18:31 to go in the first half and Sidney goalie Trey Werntz took the penalty kick.
Piqua goalie Deacon Buechter — as he was all night — was up to the challenge.
Werntz went for the lower left corner of the goal and Buechter made the diving save.
“I was kind surprised the goalie was taking the kick,” Buechter said. “I figured he didn’t have a lot of experience (with PKs) being goalie. I just followed his eyes. Normally, you can’t do that (they won’t kick it where they are looking), but I was able to make the save.”
His four saves don’t tell the kind of game Buechter played.
He was under fire a lot in the second half, as Sidney had eight corner kicks and things got frantic a couple times late in the game.
On one, he was able to deflect a free kick and a Piqua defender knocked the ball out of play.
“It was pretty scary out there,” Buechter said with a smile about the last 10 minutes.
Jennings could not say enough about his goalie.
“He had a great save on the PK,” Jennings said. “Deacon (Buechter) had a great game. We have always known he had the ability, but he really played well tonight.”
Piqua’s only shot on goal came early in the game, but the Indians were unable to convert.
“That would have been big if we could have gotten that one,” Jennings said. “But, we didn’t.”
And it wasn’t just Buechter who shined against a Sidney team that has high-scoring Jalen Hudgins back after he played for Troy Christian last year.
“One thing we have been struggling with is marking,’ Jennings said. “And we did a great job of that tonight. Jarret Powers and Brock Schlosser did a great job, but really the whole back line played well for us tonight.”
Piqua went 2-2-1 overall and 0-1-1 in MVL play with the tie, while Sidney is now 1-2-1 and 1-0-1 in MVL play.
And Jennings saw the potential he knows his team has and has shown flashes of Tuesday night.
“We shut Northmont out in the second half of a scrimmage,” Jennings said. “We lost 4-0 to Vandalia, but we had a bad first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes. The rest of the time we played well. These guys have the ability.”
Buechter said the game was a big confidence builder.
“Especially when you consider we just ended a long losing drought against them two years ago,” he said. “This was a big game for us.”
“For sure (it should give them confidence),” he said. “Hopefully, this will carry over to Thursday.”
When the Indians travel to Springfield to take on the Shawnee Braves.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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