Thursday, October 29th, 2009
By Gary R. Rasberry
Bulldogs shut out by Trojans
Division I District Girls Soccer at Findlay
FINDLAY - It would easy to say that the Findlay Trojans have been the bane of the Celina girls soccer team's existence.
Since 2001, the teams have met seven times in the postseason, with Findlay holding a 5-2 advantage.
Then, in the 2009 season opener, the Trojans whipped the Bulldogs 6-1.
But it was two strong teams that met up at Graham Memorial Stadium in Findlay on Wednesday with a berth in the Division I district final on the line.
Celina showed it was solid on defense, but the Trojans were able to get the only goal of the match to end the Bulldogs' season with a 1-0 decision.
The Trojans (11-5-1) will face Lexington back at Graham Stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m. for a district title. The Bulldogs end a Western Buckeye League championship season at 13-4-2.
Celina proved early that a repeat of the season opener would not be in the cards. The Bulldogs, missing WBL Player of the Year Emily Pottkotter (illness), defended against the Findlay attack well. The Trojans outshot Celina 5-4 in the first 40 minutes of play, but Josie Klosterman made saves on four shots for Celina.
Findlay was just as stingy on defense
"I think that if you're a coach in an elimination game and you're not antsy when it's 0-0? You aren't going to be antsy," said Findlay coach Mark Laux.
"In the beginning of the game it seemed we were one step off of making that perfect run, that perfect play, to make it happen," said Celina coach Calvin Freeman. "We just missed. Talk about a game of inches."
Through the first half of the second half, both teams had chances to dent the scoreboard. Katelyn Moorman had a solid shot inside the box that went left of the goal. Ashley Miller of Findlay put one past Klosterman, but the official whistled the play offsides.
Then with just over 22 minutes left to play, Nikki Burton fired a pass to Miller, who had four goals against Celina in the season opener. With defenders closing in fast, Miller was able to get a shot off before being hit and the ball hit the crossbar and dropped in past Klosterman with 22:05 left to give Findlay the lead.
"She just capitalized on the ball being in the right situation," said Laux. "She got a nice pass laid down nicely in front of her. She finished while taking contact. It takes guts knowing you're going to get hit and finish anyways."
"A game of inches," said Freeman of Miller's goal. "It hit the crossbar and skidded in. It could have easily skidded out. That's soccer."
The play was costly, though, as Miller went down hard after the shot and was helped back to the sidelines, not coming back for the rest of the game.
For the final 22-plus minutes, Celina tried hard to even the match. Candra Francis' shot under heavy pressure with 7:25 to go was saved by Mills. Then, with 4:40 left, Mackenzi Rutschilling saw her shot go right into Mills' hands. With 58 seconds left, Hanna Mast had a solid direct kick end up in Mills' hands, the sixth save of the night for the Trojans' goalie.
"They didn't give us goals," said Laux. "We had to go out and fight for it, scrap for it. That's what we expected."
"Our defense played outstanding. We played well tonight," said Freeman. "As a team we played very well. We had a couple opportunities and didn't capitalize on them. I'm very proud of how the girls played. They played hard."
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