DELTA – Swanton girls soccer put to rest any hopes of Delta spoiling their chances of clinching the NWOAL title outright on Saturday, opening up a 4-0 lead at halftime and adding another after the break for a 5-0 shutout win.
The victory secured the Bulldogs their first NWOAL soccer title, as they finished with a 5-0 mark in league play.
“We came in (and) we wanted it a lot more,” said Swanton coach Jim Dickman after the game. “That was the pregame talk all this week.”
“We had hoped to play better than we did,” commented Delta coach John Kern. “We have been pretty banged up with injuries and playing without subs, down a few starters is tough. We made some basic mistakes that cost us goals against. Swanton showed up to play, and we have to give them credit for that.”
Just 27 seconds into the contest, Swanton freshman Bridgett Harlett produced an early run from the right side, finding senior Shae Hallowell for the goal to make it 1-0.
Exactly five minutes later, Jordan Furko’s corner-kick found Haley Nelson who headed the ball in for a 2-0 Swanton advantage.
Both teams fought the rainy and windy weather all day, with a shot from Delta’s Havanna Gracia sailing high because of it at the 30:51 mark. Not even a minute later, with 30:02 remaining, Harlett rushed hard from the right, scoring past the Panther goalkeeper as she came out to defend.
“She was a big player today,” said Dickman of Harlett, who had a goal and two assists on the afternoon. “She knows that’s how we want her to step up while she’s playing varsity. We always joke with her this isn’t U14 anymore. But she’s doing a great job.”
Swanton’s Taylor Pelland showed great effort on the game’s fourth goal. When battling with Kaylin Twigg of Delta to the right of the net, she turned and fired toward the goal past the outstretched finger tips of the Panther keeper, making it 4-0 with 26:55 to go in the half.
While Harlett had a nice game, seniors Hallowell and Pelland, along with others, also had an impact.
“They led the team,” said Dickman of his seniors. “They did a great job today. We went right after them.”
In the final 20 minutes Hallowell nearly scored a couple more goals, but the Panther defense kept her attempts out of the net.
With 32:25 left in the second half, Harlett slid a ball over to Pelland on the right side of the net who hammered it home to equal the game’s final tally.
Delta kept the ball in Swanton territory for most of the half after Pelland’s score, however, they could not cash in. Morgan Mattimore put a shot on net at the 24:15 mark that went just left of the net.
Then, with 13:03 left, Delta’s Madi Nadolny tried to get a shot over the head of the Swanton keeper but Amber Torres made the save.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010