The 11th-seeded Delaware Hayes girls soccer team went toe-to-toe with sixth-seeded Dublin Coffman for 78 minutes.
It was the two in the middle that proved problematic as the host Shamrocks scored in the final minute of the first half and first minute of the second half on the way to a 2-0 Division I district semifinal win Wednesday night in Dublin.
After gaining possession near midfield, with the first-half clock ticking down, Coffman served the ball into the box and hoped for the best. The ball eventually settled at the feet of Norah Roush, who poked a shot past Hayes keeper Porter Barickman with 13 seconds left until halftime.
“We just had a breakdown and we couldn’t clear the ball out,” Pacer coach Bradd Smiley said of the goal just before the break. “They capitalized on our mistakes and that’s what good teams do … they make the most of your mistakes and, unfortunately, we were at the short end tonight.”
The second half started a lot like the first ended as Julia Flynn collected a well-placed through ball from Kacey Collier, got behind Hayes’ back line and fired a low liner past a diving Barickman and into the back of the net.
The Pacers switched up their offensive formation down the stretch … and it nearly paid off. Sammy West chased down a long pass, but her centering feed across the goal mouth deflected off Coffman keeper Grace Barthel and trickled out of bounds. Elise Buckerfield and Rebekah Blair got good looks off the ensuing corner kick — opportunities served up by a nice kick from Sara Dudley — but Barthel was able to make the stop both times.
“It looked like they were kind of packing in on Ava (Bruns), so we decided to push her out a little wider and send another striker up,” Smiley said. “We attacked with three strikers to try and create a little more space, and we got a few more shots, but the keeper made some good saves at the end.”
The loss wasn’t the result Hayes was looking for, but the program has certainly made a jump the last couple seasons, both of which included OCC championships.
“Hopefully we can continue to keep making strides,” Smiley said. “We need to be able to win this game and take the next step. The girls are starting to believe they can play soccer with anybody, we just have to make sure we don’t make the type of mistakes that can bite you … especially at this stage.”
Olentangy 8, Westerville Central 0
The top-seeded Braves started fast and never looked back, rolling to a Division I district semifinal win over the visiting and 28th-seeded Warhawks Wednesday night in Lewis Center.
Erin McElroy and Reagan Ross scored on headers to open the scoring summary — both off nice feeds from Karsten Bucci — before Lauren Hughes ballooned the Olentangy edge to 3-0 with a goal of her own.
Lexi White scored off a feed from Olivia Heskett just before the break and the Braves rolled from there.
Next up, Olentangy will play Bishop Watterson in Saturday’s district final at a time and place to be announced.
Olentangy Orange 5, Grove City 0
Maia Kaufman and Kaelyn Valleau both scored twice as the third-seeded Pioneers cruised to a Division I district semifinal win over visiting and 20th-seeded Grove City Wednesday night in Lewis Center.
Camryn Earl added the other goal while Lauryn Barringer, Meghan Moser, Peyton Flaherty and Ava Musgrove were credited with assists in the win.
Next up, Orange will take on Coffman in Saturday’s district final at a time and place to be announced.
Olentangy Liberty 2, Westerville North 0
The second-seeded Patriots took care of business in Wednesday’s Division I district semifinal against the visiting and 19th-seeded Warriors, pulling away late to punch a ticket to Saturday’s district championship game against Dublin Scioto.
Chloe Brecht broke the scoring seal off a feed from Jazlyn Brooker while Jaimason Brooker added a little insurance shortly after thanks to a nice find from Sami Sincek.
Bishop Watterson 2, Olentangy Berlin 1, 2OT
Rachel Spencer scored with 1:26 left in the second overtime to lift the eighth-seeded Eagles to a Division I district semifinal win over the visiting and 10th-seeded Bears Wednesday night in Columbus.
Rileigh Glassburn scored to stake Berlin to a 1-0 lead after a half before Watterson battled back down the stretch.