Early in the second half of a scoreless high school girls soccer game between Swanton and Archbold Thursday night, Bulldog forward Shae Hallowell went down with what appeared to be a game-ending ankle injury and had to be helped, make that carried, from the field.
Approximately ten minutes later, after receiving treatment on the sidelines, Hallowell returned to the field, re-energized by adrenalin, grit and determination and scored the only goal of the game to lead the Bulldogs past the Blue Streaks 1-0.
“I was motivated,” said the senior after the game as she left Archbold’s Spengler Field limping noticeably with an ice bag strapped to her ailing ankle. The big win, in addition to easing her pain, kept alive Swanton’s quest for a league title.
As expected with a 1-0 score, defense ruled the day but there was plenty of offense to test the mettle of both goalkeepers. The contest resembled a tennis match in terms of its back and forth play, especially in the first half when both teams had numerous excellent scoring opportunities.
Swanton’s Jordan Furko and Erica Keller each sent several corner kicks into the Archbold goalie crease, only to have Blue Streak keeper Madison Kohler grab the kick in mid-air or disrupt the Bulldog offensive formation enough to keep the ball away from the net.
On the other end of the field, Swanton goalie Amber Torres made three diving saves off blistering shots to keep Archbold off the scoreboard. “I had a lot of anxiety. It really freaks me out when they get close,” said Torres on what was going through her mind while the Streaks’ offense was attacking. “But I leave it up to my defense because I know they can do it.”
The second half was a carbon copy of the first until the 21 minute mark when Hallowell drove a shot from about 30 yards out on the left side that angled on the ground past the out stretched hands of Kohler and into the net just inside the right goal post.
From there the Archbold offense intensified their attack but the Swanton defense was up to the challenge. “The girls worked all week and we had three days where we worked on nothing but defense. We did what we had to do,” said Bulldog coach Jim Dickman. Towards the end of the game the Streaks had several great chances to tie the score, with two corner kicks and two penalty shots but were not able to find the net.
“We knew it would be a battle from beginning to end. And it was today. It was a great soccer game,” remarked Blue Streak assistant coach Jennifer Kidder. “Our girls played outstanding. I don’t have a complaint with anything they did. We had our opportunities and didn’t capitalize and they (Swanton) did.”
With the win, Swanton improves their league record to 3-0 and 9-3 overall. Tonight they host Wauseon beginning at 5 p.m., before remaining home to battle the defending NWOAL champion, Delta, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
Archbold falls to 1-1-1 in the league with the loss and 6-2-1 overall after their 2-0 victory over Lake on Saturday. Their next league opponent will be Delta at home on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.
Bill O’Connell can be reached at email@example.com