Archbold put their state ranking to the test Thursday at Woodland Park, scoring an early goal off the foot of Grace Mayer and holding off previously unbeaten Swanton for a crucial 1-0 win in NWOAL girls soccer.
“Big win,” exclaimed Archbold assistant coach Jennifer Kidder. “The number one goal for the season for our girls was to win (the) league. Especially for our seniors. They haven’t done it in their four years of school. So, we just checked one more box to get a little bit closer to that.”
Although it desperately hurt their chances of winning a third straight league title, Swanton still has a lot of season left.
“We had a lot of shots on goal, we just couldn’t find the net tonight,” stated Bulldog coach Jim Dickman. “The second half, we were down here (by Archbold’s goal) a lot more. We’ll see them again. It’s not a problem.”
The visitors from Swanton had many more scoring chances in the second half as opposed to the first. Kyleigh Koback nearly had an open shot at the 27:23 mark but the Archbold defense was able to clear it before she could get a shot off.
Then, however, Swanton senior goalkeeper Amber Torres showed off her skills in the net.
A defensive miscue by the Bulldogs allowed an open look from Emie Peterson, but Torres slid in to make the save, keeping the margin at 1-0 with 17:30 left to play.
“I felt like the first half we pretty much controlled possession of the game,” explained Kidder. “We just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities that we had. We didn’t finish. We had so many scoring opportunities, but their keeper (Torres) did an awesome job. She had some great saves.”
Peterson had another shot in front of the net just over three minutes later, and this time Torres was able to swat it away.
“Amber is probably the best goalie in northwest Ohio. She doesn’t get enough credit from anybody,” said Dickman.
With time running down, Swanton nearly pushed one into the net to tie it up.
Kirsten Truckor controlled the ball up the left side of the field when she spotted teammate Aricka Lutz flashing open in the middle. Lutz couldn’t quite handle the pass and the Dogs’ effort was not awarded with a goal.
“That last couple minutes I think it’s (like that in) any close game. It’s always scary in the end like that,” said Kidder. “But our defense stood their ground and did what they had to, to keep the win.”
The Blue Streaks got on the board 5:42 into the contest when Emie Peterson slipped a pass to Mayer who that time got the best of Torres for a 1-0 lead.
The Dogs had some chances in the first half but Archbold keeper Leah Hall kept them out of the net.
“It was a good game and we fought all the way to the end,” concluded Dickman. “We know our conditioning’s good. We know everything is good. So, we just got to work more now in the weight room and that. Because we can’t get pushed off the ball.”
Swanton bounced back with an 8-2 victory at home against Maumee Saturday. Archbold bested Ottawa-Glandorf 5-1.
The Streaks visit Wauseon Tuesday in NWOAL action at 5 p.m. After a game at Woodmore Monday, Swanton is at Delta on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010