Thursday, October 25th, 2007
Findlay controls play on the way to 3-0 victory
Both Celina soccer teams eliminated in shutout losses
By Ryan Hines
FINDLAY - The Findlay Trojans girl's soccer team maintained their dominance in their home district by whipping Celina 3-0 on Wednesday night in Division II tournament action at Graham Memorial Soccer Stadium.
"Findlay is just a great team with a great program. They played exceptionally well tonight and I expected nothing less," said Celina head coach Cal Freeman. "They were the top-seeded team and we were the second-seeded team, so I guess that it came out that way on the field too."
With just 40 seconds left on the clock before halftime, Jillian Birchmeier made a game-changing play that sent the Trojans to victory.
Celina's defense thwarted several Findlay scoring opportunities, but Birchmeier broke free from a pair of Bulldog defenders and made the Green and White pay. Birchmeier took the free ball and dribbled 40 yards, outrunning the defense and then booting the ball into the goal past a diving Allison Braun for a 1-0 Findlay lead.
"We had a letdown there right before the half and they took it to us," said Freeman. "Momentum is the big key in soccer and it went out the door for us on that goal just before half."
Then less than three minutes into the second half, Findlay benefited from a questionable call in the penalty box giving the Trojans a penalty kick at the 37:03 mark. The tripping foul allowed Ashley Peterson to take the penalty kick and all Braun could do is watch the ball hit the back of the net as Peterson blasted a shot to lower-right corner of the goal for a 2-0 Trojans lead.
"When you go down 2-0 against Findlay, you put yourself in a position that's tough to get out of," said Freeman, who wasn't in agreement on the penalty called in the box. "It's unfortunate it happened, but that's part of the game."
At the 25:26 mark, it was Peterson that put an exclamation point on the Findlay win as the senior midfielder took a great crossing pass from Hannah Routson and put Findlay up 3-0 on the goal.
"They kept the pressure on after the early goal and never let us back into it," said Freeman. "Their defense played really well and limited our opportunities."
It was a pretty dominating performance by Findlay as the Trojans outshot the Bulldogs 14-6 and were just quicker to the loose balls.
Freeman acknowledges that Findlay is still a step above Celina.
"We had a couple of opportunities to score, but we didn't take advantage of them," said Freeman. "They (Findlay) played better than we did and deserved to win the match tonight. Findlay has been at this point since 2002, so it has been their district and they are the team to beat here each year."
The postseason defeat won't erase a season that included a Western Buckeye League championship.
"We had a very good season this year by winning the WBL and then beating Elida in the tournament, which meant that we beat everyone in the league after tying them earlier in the year," said Freeman. "It's all about building for the future and I think that this is a good year to build off of."