Red Devils field day

Lordstown athletic complex opens with girls soccer game

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Lordstown’s Sarah Schneider, center left, kicks the ball ahead as Valley Christian’s Abigail Woodward, center right, looks on during Monday’s game in Lordstown. The game was the first at the new Lordstown Veterans Memorial Stadium on the corner of Salt Springs Road and state Route 45.

LORDSTOWN — Lordstown protected its home turf at the first game ever played on the Lordstown Veterans Memorial Stadium playing surface. The Red Devils girls soccer team defeated Valley Christian, 6-0.

Lordstown christened its new stadium with an incredible display of offense.

With three goals in each half, the Red Devils (2-0) showed a balanced attack while the Eagles struggled (0-1) to get off shots.

For the team, it was more about where they played than how they played.

“I feel like it has changed the whole type of game we play,” Lordstown senior Kaylynn Higginbotham said. “We actually have some girls out here. We used to play with 13 girls and it was constant. We were in shape but not for 80 minutes. I feel like playing on this field gives us momentum because it’s our field. As seniors, it is our year to play on our field.”

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Lordstown Board of Education President William Catlin, center, addresses the crowd before Monday’s Lordstown-Valley Christian girls soccer game.

Lordstown dominated from the opening kick. Sarah Schneider started the scoring with an assist from Kirsten Stelt within the first 10 minutes for a 1-0 lead.

Cadence Lickwar added her first of two goals for a 2-0 lead.

“It’s a privilege to play on this field and to be the first seniors to play on this field,” Lickwar said. “It’s just amazing. We’ve gotten so much stuff this year and it’s just really good for us as seniors. For the parents to come out here like they do and support us is nice. As a team, we have worked better together than any team I’ve been on. We are friends on and off the field. It’s just really nice how well we work.”

Higginbotham rounded out the first-half scoring with a rebound and put back for a goal and a 3-0 lead.

Lexie Ensign scored twice in the second half while Lickwar scored her second as Lordstown got the win.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Lordstown's Kirsten Stelt dribbles the ball up the field during Monday's game against Valley Christian.

“I think we executed well,” Lordstown coach Matt Kresic said. “This is the first time we were on the new field. The grass made the ball do some funny things it wouldn’t normally do. The girls were adapting to that. I was happy with the way our defense played and we shut them down to two shots. Moving forward, I was happy all the way around. Their (Valley Christian goalkeeper) stood on her head and she was legit.”

The Eagles goalie, Natalie Rodgers, finished the game with 18 saves. As for the Valley Christian offense, it did in fact get off two shots.

“Nikunj (Patel) and I have coached this program for four years,” Kresic said. “This is our fifth year. The first time we stepped on the field back there, we had nine girls. We had 20 girls sign up this year. Our numbers have increased each year. We are really excited to keep moving.”

Assistant coach Patel said two games in they matched their win total from their first two years at Lordstown combined.