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Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Dream season comes to an end for Roughriders

By Gary R. Rasberry

St. Marys' Jamie James, 30, dribbles the ball up the field during the Roughrider. . .

LEXINGTON - St. Marys coach Paul Dingledine told his team that only one team in Division II would end the season by winning the last match.
After a wild and woolly regional that saw overtime and shootouts, the St. Marys girls soccer was looking for the chance to play for that last win in the Division II state semifinal at Lexington High School on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately, the Roughriders ran into the Blazers of Hathaway Brown.
Two second-half goals, and just a bit of drama, resulted in the Roughriders seeing their dream season end by a 2-0 margin to the Blazers.  
Hathaway Brown (16-2-3), the 2007 state champions in D-II, extended its unbeaten streak to 19 matches and heads to Crew Stadium in Columbus on Saturday to face Bexley in the Division II state title match. Bexley defeated Wyoming in a shootout to advance.
St. Marys, making its furthest trek in the tournament - and the furthest a Western Buckeye League soccer program has ever made - ends its season at 17-5-1.
In the first 40 minutes, Hathaway Brown had seven chances at the net, with Roughrider freshman keeper Paige Dicus needing to make saves on four attempts.
"They definitely done their homework, as far as I'm concerned," said Blazers coach Dennis Weyn. "We played with Birdie (Wargo) up top in the first half and they had her number. Number one (Katie Burke) was following her all over the place. ... You have to give them credit. They're an extremely athletic team. For us, that's not always easy."
The Blazers, though, had plenty of pressure on St. Marys. The Roughriders managed just two shots on goal in the first half. The best chance for St. Marys to score came with 22:20 left in the opening half, when Kaysha Dietz had an opening in front of the goal, but Grace Redmon was on the spot for the save for Hathaway Brown.
"They were beating us to the ball. We weren't stepping to the ball," said Dingledine. "We were more of a defense. We were always thinking about defense. (Hathaway Brown) were stepping and winning it."
The momentum changed quickly in the second half. Just over a minute in, the Blazers had a corner kick. Kylie Kaufman booted the corner inside, where Birdie Wargo headed it in with 38:49 to go in the match to give Hathaway Brown the first score of the night.
"The Wargo girl is everything we were told she is," said Dingledine. "She's definitely a beast on the field. Katie Burke did one heckuva job on her."
The Blazer defense continued to work the Roughriders away from taking shots at the net. Play in the second half was around the Roughrider goal, where the Blazers had nine shots in the second half.
The insurance goal for Hathaway Brown came with 23:23 left in the match, when Lani Smith got a breakaway and scored to make it 2-0.
Then came the wildest moment of the match.
With Hathaway Brown still celebrating the goal, and had players still on the St. Marys side of the field, the referee placed the ball in the center and gave the signal to re-start play. Dietz scampered down field and scored past a surprised Redmon with just 10 seconds elapsed to cut the Roughriders' deficit to one.
Or so St. Marys fans thought.
Weyn and a Hathaway Brown assistant coach were well onto the field - usually a cardable offense - protesting that the Blazers were not set and ready for the restart. The linesman on the bench side of the field had held his flag up - a signal for play to remain halted - and informed the referee that St. Marys had someone in the substitution area. After several discussions, the referee signaled that the goal was disallowed and had St. Marys restart the restart, causing a hue and cry from the number of Roughriders fans making the two-hour trip to root on the team.
Naturally, both coaches had differing takes on the play.
"It was definitely a goal because the referee signaled restart," said Dingledine. "They were down there celebrating and we were set ready to go. He whistled and started play again. Then took it away from us because that linesman said we had a sub in the box. I don't understand it."
"The referee started the game while we were on the other half," said Weyn. "The thought you couldn't celebrate. There's no rule about that. That's why the linesman knew what was going on and had his flag up. We also tried to make a substitution. You have to try and let the players get to their own half. It made it pretty interesting."
From there, the Blazers kept the St. Marys offense away from the goal. Save for the disallowed goal, the Roughriders did not attempt a second-half shot.
Dingledine could not fault the effort of his team on Wednesday night.
"The girls played hard," said Dingledine. "... We're proud of what they did this season. We can't take anything away from them on that."
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