Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007
By Gary R. Rasberry
Bulldogs are just one win away
Green and White can clinch league title with victory over Defiance
GLANDORF - The mission to win a Western Buckeye League title has the Celina girl's soccer team focused on going forward.
Trailing 2-1 to Ottawa-Glandorf at halftime, Celina got the momentum back two minutes into the second half, tightened up the defense and found a way to score in the final seven minutes to get a 3-2 win at the O-G Athletic Complex to stay on top of the WBL standings.
"Soccer is a momentum thing," said Celina coach Calvin Freeman. "Our girls were focused and said they wanted it. They came back and were able to tie it up. We tightened the defense and were able to put that last goal in."
Celina goes to 6-0-1 (19 points) in the WBL. To ensure an outright WBL title, the Bulldogs need to win next Tuesday at Defiance. A loss or a tie will have Celina fans scoreboard watching as St. Marys, 6-1-0 and with 18 points after beating Kenton 5-0 on Tuesday, is at Elida.
"We're still sitting on top, and that's a nice place to be," said Freeman. "That's a good feeling to be there. I give all the credit to the team. They're a great bunch of kids. They just don't quit."
Things looked bleak early as the Titans got on the board just four minutes into the match. Brittany Kiracofe got a pass at midfield and used speed to get past the Celina defense and put it past keeper Allison Braun to draw first blood for the Titans.
Four minutes later, Celina found an equalizer. Courtney McKirnan fired a perfect pass to Shelbi Nation, who took the long shot and put it just over the head of O-G keeper Ashley Warnimont to tie the match at one.
Just when it looked like the first half would end in a draw, Kiracofe got free again and scored on the breakaway with 5:35 left to make it 2-1 at halftime.
"Kiracofe is a nice player. She made a nice one-on-one with the goalie and was able to put it in the back of the net," said Freeman.
Celina, which played the second half without McKirnan after she suffered a leg injury in the final 21/2 minutes of the first half, found a way to get the momentum back. With just under two minutes gone in the second half, Rachel Wright fired a perfect pass to Cayla Hellwarth, who got past Warnimont to tie the match with 38:17 left in the match.
In the final 10 minutes of the game, Celina spent most of its time near the Titans' goal. Several scoring chances, a couple with Warnimont out of position, came within mere inches of going in the goal, only to go wide.
With the clock going under seven minutes left in regulation, Celina finally got one to go. After a shot went off the cross bar, Ashley Coon found herself at the right place at the right time, putting the rebound back in with 6:56 left to put Celina on top.
"We missed a couple of golden opportunities, but I'll take one to win it," said Freeman. "This was a huge game. The girls worked really hard this year for this.
"I take my hat off to the team. It was a complete team effort. ... Defense played well. Our midfield played well and our front line played. I'm so proud of them. They deserve the credit."
Before the Defiance game next Tuesday, Celina hosts Toledo Central Catholic on Saturday with a 10 a.m. jayvee start.
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