Monday, October 7th, 2019

Saturday stunner

Coldwater defeats Celina in girls soccer for first time in program history

By Gary R. Rasberry

Celina's Kira Dirksen (24) battles Coldwater's Brianna Keller for control of the. . .

COLDWATER - Coldwater girls soccer coach Lisa Brackman knew her team was in for a challenge on Saturday as the Cavaliers hosted unbeaten and state-ranked Celina.
The Cavaliers had never beaten the Bulldogs in the previous nine meetings of the Mercer County neighbors. The closest Coldwater came to getting a win was a 3-3 tie in 2017.
Saturday, the Cavaliers played on a completely different level, using strong defense to keep the match scoreless in the first half, then scoring twice in an eight-minute span to come away with a 2-1 victory at Cavalier Stadium.
"It's exciting when you can go in and play that kind of soccer against an unbeaten Division II team," said Brackman. "Celina gives us good competition every year and our girls want to go out and fight and play against them. This year was our year."
From the start, the Cavaliers played tight defense, putting pressure on Celina's go-to players. The Bulldogs had two good chances early on, but one shot by Larisa Orick less than two minutes into the match was saved by Cavalier keeper Elise Kramer. Shortly thereafter, Reilly Cox's direct kick from 30 yards out went high over the crossbar of the goal. The Cavaliers focused solely on defense and did not take any shots on goal as the game was scoreless after 40 minutes."
"I knew Celina was undefeated and we needed to have our best defensive game if we had any opportunity to hold them," said Brackman. "I didn't expect this outcome."
The Cavaliers kept up the defensive pressure, but began to try and outrun Celina for some attacks on goal. With 29:34 remaining in the match, the Cavaliers struck as Janelle Halterman tried a shot just out the 18-yard box and put it past Celina keeper Kennedy Henry to give the Cavaliers the first goal of the match.
"Nellie has a way to sending those balls in from the outside," said Brackman, referring to Halterman by her nickname. "It was a beautiful goal. It was just what we needed to get more pumped."
The Bulldogs tried to run their attack, but the Cavaliers continued to contain the team, kicking the ball to the other side of the field to force Celina to start their attack away from the goal zone.
Eight minutes after Halterman lit the lamp, the Cavaliers came up with the dagger shot. Ava Giere booted a pass to Mallory Kremer, who broke inside and put the ball to the far side of the net with 21:29 remaining to raise the margin to 2-0.
"I was ecstatic. I was proud of Mallory because I've seen her grow so much over the last two years," said Brackman.
The Cavaliers continued to make plays to keep Celina from scoring. Even when Kramer, who had seven saves on the match, was out of position, a Cav defender kicked the ball out of harm's way.
Celina finally scored with 1:42 remaining on a Carley Eichler goal, but the chance for a tying goal was denied by the Cavalier defense as the final whistle sounded.
"They all fought hard. The defense came in and helped each other out," said Brackman. "If someone made a mistake, someone else took over. It took a team effort."
"We just didn't come to play today. Nothing went right," said Celina coach Eric Gerker. "Give Coldwater credit. They did what they needed to do to be successful today. Our girls need to learn a lesson to never take anyone lightly and you need to bring your 'A' game every match."
The teams wrap up the regular season this week. Coldwater (9-4-1) hosts Ottoville in a Western Ohio Soccer League match on Tuesday and travels to Spencerville on Thursday. Celina (10-1-3) has a chance to win a share of the Western Buckeye League title on Tuesday with a win over Van Wert and if Bath defeats Shawnee or Bath and Shawnee tie. The Bulldogs finish the season next Saturday by hosting Ontario.
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Weekend Roundup
Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
Area cross country teams tuned up on Saturday for league and conference meets later this week at the Lions Invitational hosted by Coldwater.