By Gary R. Rasberry
The Celina girls soccer team's season ended as it begun, with a loss to Findlay.
The Trojans scored less than two minutes into the game and added three more goals to beat Celina 4-0 in Division I girls soccer district semifinal action at Graham Soccer Stadium in Findlay.
Findlay (11-6-2) plays the winner of the Lexington bracket on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Findlay. Celina does finish the season with a non-losing record, ending the year at 8-8-3.
Celina lost 6-0 to start the season to the Trojans, so the team knew they were in for a battle. The battle came early as the Trojans kept the ball in the Celina goal area for the majority of the game.
Scoring came right away as Angie Misamore found an open Jillian Birchmeier in front of the net. Birchmeier put the shot past keeper Laura Kuhn with 38:16 remaining in the first half. Four minutes later, traffic was clogged around the net. After several seconds of players kicking the ball every which way, Caitlin Logan took a rebound and put it in to make it 2-0.
Things slowed down a little, but Findlay was able to get a third score in the opening half when Ashley Petersen drove in alone and scored with 24 minutes left to make it 3-0. Backup keeper Allison Braun came in to finish the half with Kuhn returning for the first part of the second half before getting pulled late in the match.
"I told them at halftime if you take away the first 10-15 minutes -- which you can't -- it's a 1-0 game at the half," said Celina coach Dean Liggett. "The second goal come off a corner (kick). It was a nice ball. We talked before the game that we gave them 11 corners the first time and you can't give them that many. They'll capitalize. They're a good first-touch team and a good hitting team. We gave them at least eight (scoring chances) in the first half."
Meanwhile, Celina was on the receiving end of something they did best in the tournament, keeping the other team from getting any looks at the net. Celina did not have a shot on goal in the first half as the Trojans bottled up any chance for scoring. Celina also did not take a corner kick in the first 40 minutes while Findlay tried four.
The game flowed better in the second half, but Findlay managed one more score when Misamore got a goal for herself coming off an assist from Malana Dunga with 35 minutes remaining in the game.
Although the Trojans won to extend their unbeaten streak to eight, coach Kevin Veroneau thought his team was not at their best.
"The girls weren't happy with their performance and I wasn't happy," said Veroneau. "You want to keep that momentum going. We came out against Wapakoneta (which Findlay beat 9-0 last Thursday) and played a great game. We played (Celina) before and sometimes it's harder to get up for a team you played before. That's tough for the girls."
"I can't fault our players. I don't think they played down," said Liggett. "We faced a high-quality team and we knew that coming in. They're a number-one seed for a reason."