Wednesday, September 21st, 2022
Riders match Indians in scoreless draw
By Tom Haines
Photo by Zachary Hesse/The Daily Standard
St. Marys' Sophie Menker battles Shawnee's Rylie Lamb for the ball at Roughrider Field on Tuesday.
ST. MARYS - For the third straight time, the St. Marys girls soccer team was held without a goal against Shawnee.
This time, the Roughriders put up a clean sheet of their own.
Keeper Ella Jacobs made eight saves, including a stop with 2:42 to go, and the Roughriders battled to a 0-0 draw in Western Buckeye League action at Roughrider Field on Tuesday.
"We knew, it's always a slugfest," St. Marys coach Nick Wilson said. "There's no getting around it. We seem to exchange punches every year, with one coming out victorious. Last year, they got the better of us twice in games that we were in. We knew that we'd have to click on all cylinders to get by these guys."
Shawnee's Ella Moritz gave the Indians a chance in the waning minutes, getting past the defense on a run down the left side. Jacobs charged the ball and stopped Moritz's shot, but the rebound rolled past and Moritz leapt up to take another shot.
Defender Gabby Keller got there first, knocking the ball a few feet away, and Jacobs dove on it to keep the game tied.
"We gave the game ball to Ella Jacobs for keeping us in," Wilson said. "Eight saves, and a couple of them were pretty darn critical."
Another look for Shawnee (6-0-3, 3-0-2 WBL) with just over a minute left was waved off on an offsides call, and St. Marys got its final chance with 34 seconds left, as Morgan Hesse took a long shot that sailed over the right corner of the goal.
The second half was fairly even, with three shots for each team. St. Marys (8-2-1, 3-1-1) got its best chance with 26 minutes left, as Aerial Fast pushed the ball down the right side and sent a pass to Krista Ruppert in front of the goal. Ruppert's shot was pushed right by Shawnee keeper Chloe Nance, who survived a collision to extinguish the threat.
Nance saved a shot by Sophie Menker a minute later, and the Roughriders' final sustained push with five minutes left came to nothing.
St. Marys came out firing at the start, with shots from Fast and Hesse in the first 2:05. After Nance pushed Hesse's shot left, the Roughriders got a corner kick, but couldn't get a shot off before the Indians cleared the ball.
"The hope was to get one in the back of the net early, to take the wind out of the sails, or at least slow the wind down," Wilson said. "There were a couple close calls, didn't go in the back of the net. When you let a team coached by Caroline O'Brien stick around, she's going to make adjustments… without going those first couple in, it definitely changed the tenor of things."
Shawnee came back and took four shots on Jacobs over the course of the first 40 minutes, including one that forced Jacobs to make a diving save by the left post. The Indians also failed to capitalize when Roughriders defender Jillian Tomberlin drew a yellow card with 30:19 to go.
It marked the seventh shutout of the year for Jacobs and the Roughriders.
"It's nice when you can count on somebody like (Jacobs) there, along with the defensive line - Gabby Keller, Amelia Ankerman, Lauren Jacobs and Jillian Tomberlin," Wilson said. "As a general rule, they haven't been subbed in high-caliber games, they've stayed back there. So the majority of the shutouts, at least the competitive games, have been on them."
Last year, Shawnee won 2-0 in the regular season and knocked the Roughriders out of the tournament with a 1-0 win in the district final.
St. Marys remains third in the WBL behind the Indians and undefeated Ottawa-Glandorf, which beat the Roughriders on Sept. 12. The Roughriders continue their campaign Thursday when Columbus Grove comes to town.