By Gary R. Rasberry
Even while his defense did well in not allowing St. Marys a shot in the first 40 minutes of play, Celina girls soccer coach Dean Liggett was worried since his team wasn't scoring either.
The trend continued for the first 14 minutes of the second half until one goal started a hot streak.
Celina scored three goals in a span of seven minutes to wrap up the Western Buckeye League season with a 3-0 win at Celina Soccer Stadium.
The win gives the Bulldogs at least a share of third place in the WBL with a record 4-2-2 mark and evens the overall record to 6-6-3. St. Marys, missing several starters with injuries and having others playing in pain, falls to 1-5-2 in the WBL and 5-9-2 overall.
"Going into halftime, we didn't know what to think," said Liggett. "St. Marys-Celina, that's a big rivalry, you can throw the records out the window. ... It's a game people are going to play on emotion. We had a slow start and eventually we got one." The Bulldogs peppered the goal all night, taking 20 shots on goal. For the majority of those shots, Roughriders keeper Steph Platt was in front of the ball, making 11 saves on the night.
"It's been like that all year," said Roughrider coach Paul Dingledine. "We've struggled scoring all year but we've played great defense. I told them at halftime to keep it up. That was the best 40 minutes they've played all year."
The good times for St. Marys kept up until the clock went under 26 minutes remaining in the game. Celina was in the St. Marys zone looking for an opening. A pass by Rachel Schollmeier created the opening Celina needed as Meg Smalley took the pass and crossed it past Platt at the 25:41 mark to draw first blood.
Just over two minutes later, it was Heidi Schollmeier who added the insurance. The junior, who came up limping late in the first half, took a pass just across midfield and dribbled toward the Roughrider goal, putting the shot past Platt at the 23:32 mark to make it 2-0.
Heidi Schollmeier was not done. With 18 1/2 minutes left in the game, the junior got a near-carbon copy pass from the first goal and drove in to make it 3-0 at the 18:22 mark.
"Heidi just dominated at midfield in the second half," said Liggett. "She got the ball, dribbled past people and put some hard shots up. It's one of those things where every game, we've had someone step up and just do enough to get the job done."
St. Marys tried to get a goal back in the final 18 minutes, getting a shot or two off, but Celina maintained the midfield advantage to pick up the win.
"It was just a breakdown here or there," said Dingledine. "Celina capitalized on it. Once a team scores, they smell blood, they turn it up a bit. You have to respond or play stronger defense, that's for sure."
The Celina junior varsity picked up its 10th win of the season with a 6-0 win over the Roughriders.
Celina will wrap up the regular season on Saturday at home with Xenia. Due to a band show that evening, the match has been moved up. The junior varsity will begin immediately following the boys varsity game at approximately 2 p.m. The varsity will play 20 minutes afterwards.