For the second straight Division III district soccer game the weather was to no one’s liking as driving rain and 25 mile per hour winds scoured Evergreen’s Pifer Field.
And, for the second straight game, Archbold’s Leah McQuade was a late-match hero as her goal with 8:29 left in the contest gave the Blue Streaks a 1-0 win over Swanton to advance to the regional at Defiance this week.
“It was just textbook soccer,” Archbold assistant coach Jen Kidder said. “That pass from Regan (Ramirez) and then the shot Leah took was just phenomenal.
“You could see it building up in the second half especially that the passes and the runs were coming and when they connected it was just beautiful the way that Leah finished that shot.”
For almost 72 minutes, scoring chances were few and shots were minimal as the teams combined for just 17 shots on goal for the game.
McQuade had a chance when a wind-blown ball bounced over the head of Bulldog goalie Frankie Nelson, but her header missed in the 29th minute of the first half.
A minute later, Swanton’s Aricka Lutz had a shot at a loose ball, but goalie Regan Kohler beat her to it and cleared to keep the game scoreless.
McQuade and Lutz each had another chance – each in the first half – but both times Nelson, then Kohler made good saves for a 0-0 halftime tie.
Lutz had one more chance with 24 minutes left on a free kick from 18 yards out on the right side, but Kohler punched it away to keep the shutout going.
Finally with just under nine to go, Ramirez got an opening in the middle of the field, passing to McQuade coming down the left side. McQuade punched a shot high over Nelson into the right side of the goal to put the Blue Streaks in front in the lousy weather conditions.
“We knew Wednesday when they started calling for this that it would be this way,” said Kidder. “It was lousy for both teams and I’m sure nobody enjoyed it but the kids did their job.”
Nelson made six saves for the Bulldogs while Kohler had four.
Archbold plays Spencerville at Defiance Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the regional semifinal.
Reach Joe Blystone at [email protected]