By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
Danny Henry knew his first game as Piqua boys soccer coach was not going to be an easy one.
And to the Indians credit, they managed to keep a talented Springboro team off the board in the first 40 minutes — led by some amazing saves by senior Grady Stewart.
But, the second half was a different story — Springboro scored four goals before the game was stopped by lightning with just over 17 minutes remaining — and eventually called.
“This was a really good game for us to start with,” Henry said after the game. “Because Springboro is one of the best — if not the best teams on our schedule.”
And the Panthers had an advantage — having one games under their belt.
Springboro had opened with defending state champion Mason on Saturday, losing 6-0.
“They had opened against the defending champions,” Henry said. “And you could tell by watching them, they already had a game under their belt.”
And while the ball stayed at the Springboro end for much of the first half, they couldn’t get a ball past Stewart — already Piqua’s career leader in saves.
And the senior proved to be in mid-season form.
One save in particular brought the crowd to their feet — for good reason.
After Stewart’s diving deflection on a point-blank shot ricocheted toward the right post, he was able to scramble and grab the ball just as it was about to roll into the Piqua goal.
“Grady has a lot of talent,” Henry said. “And he showed that. I said at the time I hope someone upstairs (in the press box) got that and sends it to ESPN — that should be on their top ten plays (on Sportscenter).”
The momentum changed early in the second half.
Springboro broke through at the 36:36 mark and added a second goal 18 seconds later.
The Panthers would add goals at the 20:59 and 17:40 mark, before lightning stopped the action.
“I think they figured out what our weaknesses were,” Henry said. “That is a very good team.”
Piqua will return to action next Tuesday, traveling to West Carrollton.