The Olentangy girls soccer team had to wait 375 days to get a chance at redemption and 11 days longer than it initially thought.
Senior Sydney Richards scored two goals to lead Olentangy to a 2-1 win at rival Olentangy Orange to capture the OCC-Buckeye championship Saturday afternoon in Lewis Center in a makeup of a game washed out Oct. 2.
“Our team has worked so hard this season and we’ve kind of had this in our mind all season – this was our goal,” Richards said. “Last year it got taken away from us. We wanted it so bad and it showed on the field.”
Richards scored her first goal just over six minutes into the game after collecting a Kylie Beinecke left-to-right cross and beating the goalie back to the middle.
“We were really prepared for this game as team,” Richards said. “We played really fast and we wanted it more than they did at the beginning. I’m really glad that we could get a goal early, but it was really nerve-wracking for the rest of the game because we were only up one goal.”
She scored her second goal on a penalty kick with 17:49 left in the game off a hand-ball in the box.
“Sydney is a senior and she has really risen to the challenge this year,” Olentangy coach Earl Devanny said. “She is making the most of her senior year – playing hard, winning (50-50) balls and scrapping. It’s great to see a senior do that because she’s worked hard for all (four) years.”
It comes a season after the Pioneers scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch a victory and a league title away from Olentangy on its home field.
Devanny maintains revenge was not the motivation, but an opportunity at winning a league title. Last year snapped a string of three straight titles for Olentangy.
“I think the fact that they had the opportunity to win the OCC with this game was the biggest motivating factor,” he said.
Orange got on the board with 4:46 left. The Olentangy defense tried sending a ball out of bounds. But, Orange’s Grace Weidenhamer kept it inbounds. She collected and sent a floater toward the goal where Sophia Leonetti was there to head it in to cut the deficit to 2-1.
“I thought we were working hard and the girls didn’t quit,” Orange assistant coach Steve Goebel said. “I saw a nice ball played and a great header finish. Sophia’s great in the air and she’s had two or three of those for us this year.”
Katie Scott had five saves in goal for Olentangy (11-3-2, 5-0).
Amanda Poorbaugh had three saves in relief of Linnea Milner, who had two saves for the Pioneers (9-5-2, 4-1).
“I thought we played well (and) the girls worked hard,” Goebel said. “The ball didn’t bounce our way. Sometimes that’s how soccer is. We’ll focus on the district (tournament) now and try to win our first district title for the school.”
Both teams begin Division I district tournament play Thursday at 7 p.m. after first-round byes. Fifth-seeded Olentangy hosts 42nd-seeded Briggs and Orange, seeded 10th, hosts the winner of 23rd-seeded Westerville South and 29th-seeded Chillicothe.
Buckeye Valley 4, Unioto 4
The Barons wrapped up the regular season Saturday, playing the Tanks to a draw at Mapfre Stadium.
Hannah Cowan, Lauren Lewis, Lilly Fathbruckner and Selina Seliskar picked up the BV goals while Daelynn Rosser, Sela Whitney and Ellen Riley were credited with assists.
Olentangy Berlin 2, Worthington Christian 0; St. Ignatius 2, Olentangy Liberty 0
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.