MILLBURY — It was a much more tightly-contested match than their previous meeting back on Sept. 19, a 5-1 win for Toledo Central Catholic, but Wauseon surrendered two goals in the first half and could not get on the scoreboard themselves in a 2-0 win for the Fighting Irish in a Division II girls soccer district semifinal at Lake Wednesday night.
The Indians finish the 2020 season at 6-9-2.
“It really was a much more competitive game than our first matchup with them. Our girls left everything they had out on the field,” said Wauseon coach Brandon Schroeder. “One of our focuses was to mark up tighter with their midfield players and deny them any uncontested balls into dangerous scoring areas. Looking at their season statistics, we saw that they had 8 girls scoring 3 or more goals each, so we recognized their ability to distribute the ball effectively through those midfield players. So that focus was vital in our efforts to limit their effectiveness.”
The Irish gained the early lead just before the midway point of the first half. Mya Patton let loose a nice shot from 20 yards out that made it over Wauseon goalkeeper Marie Hutchinson for a 1-0 advantage.
Central Catholic’s Liv Farrugia then fired one on net from roughly 35 yards out near the 10:20 mark, but this time Hutchinson was able to leap and make the grab.
A Fighting Irish corner kick led to their second goal. It created a scrum in front of the goal that was finished off by a Megan Fisher score, bumping their lead to 2-0 with 4:31 before half.
“Really, to look at their goals, neither one was a result of any clear lapse in marking — we never really gave them the opportunity to run free through our lines and contested all of their shots well — but in our difficulty in clearing a rebound out of a dangerous area in front of our goal. I think that was the real margin of victory,” said Schroeder.
Wauseon created many more offensive chances after halftime, yet were unsuccessful in connecting.
A pair of direct free kick opportunities were the most threatening to the Irish’ lead.
At the 26:18 mark, Rylee Vasvery’s free kick from 25 yards out was snagged by Irish keeper Evie Wesley.
Then, a Central Catholic handball led to another free boot with just under four minutes left. Kicking from 30 yards away to the left of the goal, Aariyah Hallett’s shot, despite being well-struck, was saved by Wesley to keep the score the same.
“In the second half we were able to find a bit more consistent success in pressing the advantage in their half, but we just couldn’t quite get to our own rebounds to capitalize as they did to us in the first half,” said Schroeder. “Honestly, I felt like we just needed to get our touch on the ball adjusted to the field conditions. We struggled a bit at certain areas on the field in our first touch and were able to clean up some of those issues at halftime.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010