Sometimes it’s just best to take whatever avenue is available.
After a couple of near-goals set up by seemingly perfect feeds, junior Kayla Primm just took it herself and scored the only goal to keep the Olentangy girls soccer team right in the thick of the OCC-Buckeye race.
“She’s a high-quality player,” Olentangy coach Earl Devanny said. “The good part about Kayla is not only can she take it herself, but she does a lot of work to get her teammates involved in the game.”
Host Olentangy stayed in a first-place tie with Olentangy Orange thanks to a 1-0 win over Olentangy Liberty Tuesday night in Lewis Center.
Primm wove through the defense on the left side, moving to the middle before scoring back to the lower left with 32:20 left in the game.
“Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do,” Primm said. “I felt that their line was a little flat and I thought they were flat-footed. So, I thought I could maybe try something.”
The goal came a few minutes after Julia Francis sent a perfect pass from the left to the opposite post where Sydney Richards touched it just wide right, and Bailey Hall had a shot from the right side saved by Liberty goalkeeper Riley Cartwright.
Liberty had a chance to tie it up with a minute and change left after Gia Gaetano was fouled just outside the box. Gaetano tapped the ensuing free kick to Quinn Casey on her left, giving the Olentangy defense time to converge and block the shot.
“I think we all just had a giant, collective brain-fart and kind of lost our heads for a little bit,” Liberty coach Hillary Carter said. “I get it – your playing a rival team and are down 1-0 in the last minute. You want nothing more than to score a goal, but your brain and body are in two different places. It was a mental lapse – one that we’d love to have back.”
Neither coach was exactly thrilled with the execution on that exchange.
“We specifically talked – especially in the last five minutes – no fouls,” Devanny said. “And then with a minute, 15 left – we give a up a direct kick above the crease. I was very pleased they didn’t take the direct kick.”
Olentangy almost extended the lead in the 60th minute when Jaime Rosales had a shot with a seemingly empty net. But, defender Elise Kochan got in front of the shot for the save to keep Liberty within striking distance.
Liberty had its first scoring chance in the 13th minute, but Olentangy’s Raj Robinson stepped in front of a Nora Gilger shot from the top of the box.
Gilger got a header on goal off a Jasmine Hauser free kick in the 19th minute, but Olentangy (10-3-2, 4-0) goalkeeper Katie Scott was there for the save. Scott finished with two saves.
Olivia Johnston broke free and got a shot from the right that Cartwright went to her knees to stop at the horn to keep it scoreless at the break.
Cartwright had nine saves for the Patriots (5-8-2, 2-3), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
“She was very good,” Carter said.
Cartwright left the game in the 66th minute when she was hit in the head after going to the ground on a save. Savannah Blessing took over and made three saves in her first varsity action.
“She made a great save and got kicked in the ear,” Carter said. “We’ll get her checked out tomorrow and see where she’s at for Thursday. Savannah did a fine job when she came in. To be new to this team and this dynamic and be thrown in with no warmup in a rival game with 20 minutes left is a lot to take on and she did very well.”
Next up, Liberty plays a non-league contest with Bishop Watterson at Otterbein University Thursday at 8 p.m. Olentangy is off until Saturday at 3 p.m. when it closes league play at rival Olentangy Orange.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.