NAPOLEON – Bound and determined to get another chance at advancing to state after falling short last season, Archbold will have that opportunity after defeating Lima Central Catholic 2-1 in a Division III girls soccer regional semifinal Tuesday in Napoleon.
“It’s never easy for us that’s for sure,” quipped Archbold assistant coach Jennifer Kidder. “I feel like that first half we kind of struggled. We definitely weren’t possessing the ball. There was a whole lot of kickball going on. It was actually both ways. The second half we just came out on fire. We possessed and dominated play. Feel like we should have had a couple more goals in there. I guess we had to keep it exciting for the fans.”
Regan Ramirez got free for the Streaks and fit one in over the head of Thunderbird goalkeeper Kitt Siatkosky to give them the lead near the halfway point of the second half.
They nearly got on the board two minutes prior thanks to a shot from Macy Peterson. At the 22:16 mark, the sophomore beat Siatkosky to a ball but her shot banged off the left post.
Still on the attack, Archbold’s Chloe Nofziger fired one from 25 yards away that found the back of the net, making it 2-0 with 7:55 to go.
According to Kidder, it was eerily similar to another big shot in program history.
“The year that we went to state (2011), this is the team that we played (in the regional semifinal),” stated the assistant coach. “And Chloe’s sister was playing, kind of holding defensive mid position. And she had a shot almost identical to that to seal the deal for us to go on to the regional championship game. So I just sat there and I watched that (Chloe’s shot) and I was like, ‘holy crap, that was identical to her sister.’
“She was due because she has been a workhorse for us. She contains the middle. She moves the ball, she possesses, and she sees the field really well. For her to get that shot when it mattered, it was great. Couldn’t ask for a better shot.”
However, although Nofziger’s goal seemed to be the clincher, the Thunderbirds refused to go away. Avery Rice drew a corner kick with around four minutes to play, and her shot was on target where it was redirected into the net by Bluestreak keeper Reagan Kohler who attempted to punch it out.
“I just felt like it was kind of miscommunication. I think it was a very stoppable corner kick,” explained Kidder. “But I think we might have just come out a little too early on that.”
The freshman keeper was vital in keeping the Birds off the board in the first half. Most notably, when she knocked away Rice’s free kick with 9:20 to go.
It will now be a rematch of last season’s regional final as the Bluestreaks take on Liberty-Benton this Saturday at a time yet to be determined. The Eagles advanced with a 2-0 win over Eastwood.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010