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Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Bulldogs top Indians to stay on top of the WBL

By Mark Ruschau

Celina's Kendra Pease, 1, gets low to kick the ball in front of a Shawnee defend. . .

The Celina Bulldogs' girls soccer team used a sterling defensive effort and a pair of first-half scores to defeat the Shawnee Indians 2-1 on Tuesday in Western Buckeye League action at the Celina Soccer Field.
With the win, Celina improves to 6-2-1 overall on the season and 4-0 in the WBL. Shawnee falls to 4-4-1 on the season and 3-2 in league play.
Celina got on the scoreboard just six minutes into the match as sophomore forward Lexi Mills took a nice pass from Emily Pottkotter at the top of the box and Mills made a nice spin move to elude a defender, before scoring past Indian net minder Ashley Brachok.
The Bulldogs added what proved to be the game-winner midway through the first half as Pottkotter was fouled in the penalty area as she received a pass from Candra Francis. Celina coach Calvin Freeman elected to go with Mackenzie Rutschilling for the penalty kick and the junior midfielder found the back of the net to make the score 2-0.
That was the extent of the scoring for Celina as it was unable to come up with any more goals, thanks in large part to the inability to finish when scoring chances came up against a stout Shawnee defense. The Bulldogs had 11 shots on goal and had eight corner kicks, five in the second half.
"Offensively we had a couple of chances where we had one-on-ones or two-on-one with the goalie, but we just missed it and that is frustrating," said Freeman. "Those missed chances kept Shawnee in the game, and give them credit, they are a great team."
While the offense was inconsistent, the defensive effort by Celina was solid all night long. The Bulldogs were able to shut out Shawnee for 33 minutes before the Indians got on the board with 7:16 left in the match when Chelsea Lucas made a great throw into the box where she found senior Sarah Silone who beat Celina goalie Josie Klosterman.
Smelling blood, the dormant Shawnee offensive attack came to life and had a great chance for the equalizer as Celina was called for a foul 35 yards from its goal with just over five minutes left, giving the Indians a free kick. Jane Virdin took the set piece and sent a booming shot, but Klosterman made the save.
After the nice play by Klosterman, the Bulldog defense was able to settle the game back down, get things under control and run out the remaining time.
"Tonight was probably our best defensive effort of the season," commented Freeman. "The girls played hard and with intensity. We had one breakdown defensively and they took advantage of it, like good teams do. We were back on our heels for two or three minutes there at the end of the game, but we were able to pick things back up and get things under control and seal the win for us. I am as pleased as pleased can be with our defensive effort.
"This is just a huge win for us," continued Freeman. "This keeps us on top of the WBL, tied with Elida with four league games left and we play them later in the season."
Celina returns to action on Saturday against Bellefontaine.
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