GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets and Forest Hills Eastern Hawks will meet each other on the soccer field twice in the matter of a week.
The first meeting, on Tuesday night, was all in favor of the Hawks. Eastern — rated No. 2 in Division 2 — clinched the O-K Bronze title with a dominating performance over the Yellow Jackets 7-0.
“I thought we played well. I thought we came out of the gate well,” Eastern coach Paul Rosenbrook said. “We knocked the ball around well at the beginning, we pressured the ball well at the beginning and as a result we got a few early goals.”
Eastern scored twice in the first nine minutes on goals by Ryan Scott (35:27) and Matt DeVries (31:34).
Scott’s goal was a beauty, as he used the strong south wind to bend the ball over the head of Greenville keeper Kyle Smith from a corner kick.
“I was very happy with how we came out and the energy was real good tonight,” Rosenbrook said. “We wanted to make sure we played at a high rate of speed. There were times when we did very well with that tonight and other times they would slow our pace down.”
The Yellow Jackets slowed the Hawks down for about 13 minutes before DeVries tallied two more goals. DeVries’ final two hat trick goals came just 17 seconds apart, the second with 18 minutes remaining in the first half.
“They pass the ball well and they move well,” Greenville coach Chris Hamman said. “They have the guys that can really set the ball on the big kicks. They have the speedy guys out front that can then make the plays.”
The Hawks could not find the back of the net for the next 32 minutes of the match. Rosenbrook credited Greenville’s hard work.
“I would say the last half or so of the first half and the start of the second half Greenville worked really hard all over the field,” Rosenbrook said. “As a result they were able to slow us down with what we wanted to do.”
The Yellow Jackets had a great scoring chance 13 minutes into the second half, but Joseph Skinner’s shot was saved by Hawks keeper Nick Hopkins.
Hamman said Greenville had a few chances to score, but was timid near the net.
“A few times in their end of the field we got timid with the ball and weren’t aggressive with the ball to make a play,” Hamman said. “I think at this point of the season it is a little bit of confidence and the fact we were playing a good team tonight.”
Scott and Jeremy Ireland scored three minutes apart as the Hawks took a 6-0 advantage with 22:04 remaining in the game.
Jake Stevens scored the Hawks final goal with 7:35 remaining.
The win gave the Hawks the outright league title, as they remained undefeated in conference play at 9-0 (13-1-2 overall).
“There are some really good teams in the conference,” Rosenbrook said. “We feel real good about winning the title, but we have to keep working.”
Greenville fell to 5-11 overall.
The Yellow Jackets will travel to West Catholic on Thursday for their final regular season game. The Division 2 districts begin on Monday as Greenville will face the Hawks again, this time on the road.
“I’m sure next week will be a different game and they will be up to it,” Rosenbrook said. “We will too.”