Bishop Watterson kept the high-powered Patriots in check early, but you can’t keep a good team down long as Olentangy Liberty got going in the second half on the way to a convincing 3-1 Division I regional semifinal win Tuesday night at Worthington Christian.
The Eagles broke the scoring seal when Brooklyn Scythes beat Patriot keeper Taylor Thomas high and wide with 33:03 left in the first half. If anything, though, the goal sparked Liberty, not Watterson.
The Patriots answered back when Chloe Brecht scored on a nice through ball from Mackenzie Borden with just under 15 minutes left in the first half. She scored again less than a minute into the second half, collecting a pass from Jessica Lilko before dribbling to an open spot and firing a laser past Evie Owens from about 25 yards out to put her team up for good.
“We’re a possession type team and (Watterson) just did it better than we did (early on),” Liberty coach Chris Allen said. “It’s always tough when the opponent is trying to do what you’re doing, and potentially knows what you’re going to do. At halftime, we talked about being able to move the ball a little better and be more purposeful to create attacking chances, and we did that in the first couple minutes (of the second half). It was great for us … no better response than scoring early.”
The Patriots put the finishing touches on things with 4:43 to play as Jaimason Brooker got past the Watterson back line and crossed to a wide-open Teigan Casey, who took care of the rest. Casey was open because Brooker had the attention of three or four Eagle defenders before dishing the ball to Casey.
“We’ve been able to see it all season in terms of Jaimason being able to adapt to being in a supportive role and understanding that still helps the team and creates chances for us,” Allen said. “She’s also a player that, if they stop paying attention to her, she’ll punish them and score as well.
“It’s good to have multiple players of that caliber because it’s the same thing with Chloe. It’s great to have that quality and to be able to rely on these players in the attacking third because that’s how you win games.”
The Liberty defense, anchored by Thomas, was key down the stretch, too, as Watterson was unable to get good looks despite being in desperation mode.
“We have quality attacking players, but the he biggest part of our game is our ability to be organized defensively and limit shots that teams have,” Allen said.
Next up, the Patriots will play New Albany — a 1-0 winner over Dublin Coffman in Tuesday’s other semi — in Saturday’s regional championship at a time and place to be announced.