Delaware Hayes girls soccer coach Bradd Smiley was looking for someone to step up with a couple of his top scorers out for the season.
Senior Emma Vessels was that someone with a goal and an assist in the Pacers’ 6-1 win over Logan in the first round of the Division I district tournament Monday night at Cornell Stadium in Delaware.
“When she keeps her composure and keeps her head in the game – she’s a heck of a ballplayer,” Hayes coach Bradd Smiley said. “She’s got great, great vision on the field. When she stays up and stays positive – she drives the team.”
Vessels helped get the scoring started with a left to right centering pass to Payje Wilson to give the 27th-seeded Pacers a 1-0 lead with 34:27 left in the first half.
“Payje Wilson is really starting to show some spark,” Smiley said. “She had two of our goals the other night, too. So, that’s a good sign. We were making some good runs and Emma put some good crosses in there for her.”
Then, Vessels stepped in front of a clearing attempt and fired in a goal to push the lead to 2-0 with 19:39 left in the opening half.
“Every single game I go out and work as hard as I possibly can,” Vessels said. “If that means stepping in front of a ball, then that means stepping in front of a ball.”
Maddie Blair added a goal late in the half on a Taylor McMillin feed.
“We got a little sporadic,” Smiley said. “When we kept our composure and kept the ball at our feet – I thought we moved the ball well and I thought we attacked well.”
Grace Miller scored on a rebound off a Sydney Breese shot with 31:52 left in the game.
Taylor McMillin and Ava Bruns each added goals within a minute and change of each other midway through the second half to account for the final margin.
“We haven’t had very much luck (scoring) this season,” Vessels said. “So, coming out in our first tournament game and having six goals on the board really helps with morale.”
Abby Weller had three saves in goal for the Pacers (5-7-5).
Injuries have plagued Hayes this season. The Pacers were without junior Sydney McMillin and sophomore Alyssa Griner, who are both out for the season with ACL injuries.
“It’s definitely different not having them on the field,” Vessels said. “But, every single practice we get better and better. We’re starting to rely on each other as a unit instead of one single person.”
“It’s been an injury-plagued season,” Smiley said. “I don’t think there’s been any one game where we had our core group together.”
Sophomore Maddy Green was out with a concussion, but Smiley is hopeful that she’ll be back for Hayes’ second-round game.
Aaliyah Lewis had 10 saves for 32nd-seeded Logan (5-12), which got a goal from Brooklin Harris with 1:59 left to cap the scoring.
Next up, Hayes travels to eighth-seeded New Albany in the second round Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Buckeye Valley 8, Highland 0
Daelynn Rosser scored a season-high four goals to lead the sixth-seeded Barons to a lopsided win over the visiting and 13th-seeded Fighting Scots in the first round of the Division II district tournament Monday in Delaware.
Liz Gedde was also solid, scoring a pair off feeds from Ellen Riley and Ally Coburn, while Felecity Lisenbee found the back of the net off a corner kick and Coburn smoothed out the scoring summary with a goal of her own.
Ella Kiener wasn’t tested much, but stopped the one shot she faced in the BV net.
Madison Zamer finished with 17 saves for Highland.
Olentany Berlin 13, Lakewood 0
The Bears picked up an impressive win in their first-ever tournament game, cruising past the 12th-seeded Lancers in the first round of the Division II district tournament Monday in Delaware.
Sydney Walker led the way with a hat trick while Olivia Neidhardt, Ally McMurtrie and Rileigh Glassburn had two goals apiece. Other scorers included Cara Susey, Sarah Cain, Abby Brennan and Alana Corrigan.
Also: Big Walnut 18, Heath 0
London 3, Buckeye Valley 2 (Division II District Tournament)
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.