MILLBURY – In the ultimate case of redemption, Archbold scored with just under 23 minutes remaining and held on for a 1-0 victory against Liberty-Benton in a Division III girls soccer regional final Saturday afternoon at Lake. The win avenged last year’s loss to the Bluestreaks which sent the Eagles to the state semifinal.
“It was the absolute complete opposite of what we did last year,” said Archbold assistant coach Jennifer Kidder. “We played such a great game last year and came out on that (the losing) end. I tell you what, this feels so good right now.”
“I know whenever we play Archbold, it’s gonna be a very good game,” stated Liberty-Benton coach Mark Pagano. “They are always close games. Because their girls are talented, our girls are talented. Both teams are very athletic. It always boils down to, OK who’s gonna put it into the back of the net. I think we had more shots than they did, but, they got the one that went in and we didn’t unfortunately.”
‘The one that went in’ can be credited to the work of a sophomore and a freshman.
Bluestreak sophomore Regan Ramirez had a 1-on-1 opportunity and when her shot was knocked away and the Eagle defense attempted to clear, freshman Addison Moyer lofted it back toward the net for the goal.
“It means the world,” said Moyer after the game. “Just the ball was there and I just hit it. When I saw it hit the net, I went crazy. It was an amazing feeling.”
As expected, the Eagles went after it hard in the last 20 plus minutes.
At the 17:39 mark, Maya Rickle fired one on target from 10 yards away that Archbold keeper Reagan Kohler was able to scoop up.
Rickle then had a free kick from 30 yards out just over three minutes later, however, Alexis Richenbacher was unsuccessful at getting her head to the ball and Kohler eventually corralled it.
“Reagan is a freshman, and she plays like a senior in college,” said Kidder. “She’s so calm and composed all the time. You would never look at her and think she’s nervous, scared, or apprehensive about a game.
“Credit to everyone on the team. We came in with a job to do and they did it. We knew we needed to take #10 (Savanah Richards) out of the picture, and not let her get the ball. Dakota (Stamm) stuck to her like glue. It was exactly what was needed.”
Richards had a decent look late in the first half but was turned away. Liberty-Benton’s Maddie Parmelee centered it to Richards, only for her to put it into the arms of a waiting Kohler.
“Savannah’s our go to player,” admitted Pagano. “They marked her, and they marked her well. But that opened up some other opportunities for Alexis (Rickenbacher) and Maya Rickle. They just couldn’t get it behind their defense. When they did have a shot, it was right to their goalkeeper.”
The Streaks now advance to the state semifinal for the second time in program history. In 2011, they fell to Shaker Heights Laurel 1-0 in the semifinal.
Archbold (14-1-4) takes on Kirtland (17-2-0) Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Cedar Point Stadium on the campus of Sandusky High School, looking for a berth in the state title game. In the nightcap, the Archbold boys also play Kirtland in a state semifinal contest.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010