Momentum swings were common in the second half of a crucial NWOAL girls soccer matchup at Swanton Thursday between the Bulldogs and Archbold. Swanton would create the final surge, leading to a penalty kick that was converted by Haley Nelson with just over 11 minutes to play, giving them a 2-1 victory.
The win also gives the Bulldogs the advantage in the league title race with three opponents left on their schedule.
“They are the toughest team in the league,” said Swanton coach Jim Dickman on the win over Archbold. “Beating them is huge for us. We should do really well in the league.”
On the other side, although the loss was a letdown, the Blue Streak coaching staff will not let their team get complacent down the stretch.
“It would have been a huge help to come in here and get a win for the league (race). Is it completely out of the question, no, but it’s definitely much more of a long shot at this point,” said assistant coach Jennifer Kidder on the Streaks chances at a league title. “But, take the league out of it, we have a lot more season left. You want to peak at the right time. At tournament time. And hopefully that is what we’re preparing for and what we are gonna get to.”
With Swanton ahead 1-0 at the half, Archbold came out more assertive after the break.
The Dogs were able to fight off numerous chances in the first 20 minutes, but Emie Peterson eventually knocked one through with the help of Chloe Nofziger’s pass to tie the score with 29:02 to go.
“Emie is huge. She is a workhorse for our team,” said Kidder. “Emie and Andi Peterson both. It is non-stop work from those two. And she battled. And she always battles and never gives up. That’s all we can ask.”
Swanton then picked up the pressure themselves.
One opportunity came at the 18:12 mark as Kendra Keefer placed a corner kick beautifully in front of the net where it was grabbed out of the air by Archbold’s keeper.
Then, with 11:16 remaining, Swanton’s Bridget Harlett got behind the defense and was taken down by the Streaks to draw the penalty kick. The Bulldog coaching staff picked Nelson to take the shot and she buried it in the left corner of the net.
Both teams came out of the gate strong, but it was Swanton who struck first as Taylor Dohm found the net off Keefer’s corner kick at the 33:20 mark of the first half.
Archbold had opportunities to tie, however, the Bulldog defense and goalkeeper Amber Torres kept them off the scoreboard.
With 22:18 left in the first half, Archbold’s Kamryn Hostetler weaved her way past a Swanton defender but her attempt was swallowed up by Torres.
Dickman credited some adjustments made in practice to the success on the field Thursday.
“We switched our formations around. Put in a new diamond plus one defense,” he said. “And we had nine days off to work on it so that helped.
“We’ve still got work to do on it to get it to where it needs to be. But, they are getting it.”
The Dogs were also awarded a penalty kick in the first half when Marisa Long got taken down with 4:24 left to play. Tonya Timpe took the shot but her hard hit ball banged off the top post and was no good.
The Streaks out shot Swanton 7-5 in the first half and 13-12 for the game.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs topped Maumee 6-1.
Swanton is next in action Tuesday when they host Delta. Archbold is at home against Wauseon.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010