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Monday, November 4th, 2013

Undefeated Rocky River edges Celina by one goal

Division II Girls Soccer Regional at Ashland

By Gary R. Rasberry

Celina's Holli Brackman, 6, and Rocky River's Samantha Zamarippa fight for the b. . .

ASHLAND - Facing the state's top-ranked team in Division II, Celina's girls soccer team was never intimidated.
A quick goal at the start of the second half proved to be the difference-maker for Rocky River as the Pirates defeated the Bulldogs 3-2 in Saturday's regional final at Community Field in Ashland.  
Rocky River (20-0-1) will now face Hathaway Brown on Tuesday in the state semifinals at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School at 7 p.m. The winner then advances to Crew Stadium in Columbus to play for a state championship on Friday. Celina, playing in the regionals for the first in school history, ends a stellar season with a record of 14-3-4.   
"It was a great game," said Celina coach Calvin Freeman after the team collected its regional runner-up trophy. "You're playing the number-one team in the state, sixth in the nation, and coming out with a 3-2 score. Nobody's kept them down all year.
"They are packed from forward to the back with class and players. They're a great team," said Freeman. "They'll probably win state and they should. A very good team."
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first as Bekah Carr raced down the sideline and fired a perfect crossing pass to Caelyn Reineke, who knocked it off the left post and into the net at the 31:08 mark. It was the first goal allowed by the Pirates, who had given up just six all season, since Oct. 2.
"There was a stat where they haven't been scored on in 27 days," said Freeman. "To come in here and score against them, they have a 0.03 defensive average. To put two on them, I'm proud of the girls."
Rocky River quickly responded 61 seconds later when Sydney Hamker scored off a Jillian Krebs corner kick to tie the score at 1-1.
With eight minutes to play in the first half, Celina's Elyssa Sheriff had a wide open chance to break the tie, but her shot sailed over the goal.
The Pirates broke the tie with 4:49 left in the opening half as Samantha Zamarripa scored off a pass from outside the 18-yard box for a 2-1 lead.
Rocky River then took a 3-1 lead just over 30 seconds into the second half, when Grace Bennett found the back of the net for the Pirates after a Abby Elinsky free kick at the 39:21 mark.
"We did a couple changes, trying something different we haven't tried before," said Freeman. "It changed the rhythm of how we play. That's probably why it happened like it did."
The Bulldogs were unable to cash in on several good scoring opportunities in the first half after their opening goal and struggled to possess the ball in the second half.
With time winding down, though, Celina was in attack mode. With 2:58 on the clock, Celina had a free kick after a Rocky River foul. Carr booted the ball from 20 yards out and past Sara Connelly for a goal to trim the Bulldogs' deficit to 3-2.
Rocky River outshot Celina 16-4 and Bulldogs' goalie Callie Vogel made several big saves to keep the score close.
"Defense, obviously, outstanding. It's been outstanding all year," said Freeman. "They did it again today.
"I'm just so proud of them. It's tough to lose in the regional finals but on the other side of the coin, you can't be any more proud of a team that starts two seniors and the majority of them are freshmen and sophomores. I'm proud of them."
Additional online story on this date
HEBRON - Four cross country teams and seven individuals from the Grand Lake area competed in the chilly and damp state cross country meet on Saturday at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron. [More]
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