With chance after chance for both Big Walnut and Olentangy in the first half, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal when Riley Bussen’s goal was taken off the board six minutes into Thursday night’s non-league game in Lewis Center.
But, it was.
Bussen appeared to give BW the early lead when she headed in Emma Padgett’s corner kick just under six minutes in, but the goal was disallowed.
“(The referee) said it swung out and then went back in bounds,” Golden Eagles coach Drew Pitzer said. “It’s a tough call … if it’s even with the crossbar, it’s supposed to be in because if it’s lower and it hits the crossbar, then it’s in play. He said it went out and came back in. I didn’t have an angle, so I have to believe him.”
Afterward, the teams went back-and-forth and had scoring chance after scoring chance, but nothing to show for it.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Olentangy coach Megan Kirsten.
“(BW) played well … they outplayed us,” she said. “They distributed the ball well and they were physical. We committed too many fouls, we gave them a lot of direct kicks and a lot of corner kicks … way more than we got. On our end, we didn’t play that smart, and on their end, they took advantage of it.”
It’s the third time this season her team has played to a scoreless draw.
“We’ve worked a lot on shooting,” Kirsten said. “They’re doing a nice job. We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve had four or five goals. The past two games, we just haven’t been able to get it in … they’ve had opportunities. (BW goalie Jordan Foxworthy) is a good goalie, so give (her) credit, too.”
Olentangy (7-1-4) had won the previous five meeting since a 2-2 tie in 2010.
“I’ve been an Olentangy girl my entire life and Big Walnut has always been a rivalry in my heart,” Kirsten said. “Give them credit when they play well.”
Pitzer sees it as a step in the right direction for his program. He wants BW (4-5-3) to be more competitive with top-tier Division I programs like Olentangy.
“We’re getting closer and closer with these D-I programs and that’s what we’re here to do,” he said. “We’re a Division II program, very close to being D-I, so it’s very nice to come in here and compete with D-I programs because we’re going to be there pretty soon.”
It was the second tie in as many games for the Eagles, who tied Newark Tuesday night.
“We came on the road to a tough place to play, we’ve never won here (since I took over) and we got out of here with a 0-0 tie … I’ll take it,” Pitzer said.
Emma Spinner made a couple of point-blank saves in the first half, which included a save off a header by Suhaila Bickel on another Padgett corner kick chance.
Spinner also made a one-handed save on a ball deflected off her own defender’s foot from directly in front of goal. Pitzer said he thought that ball crossed the goal line.
“We got a little bit unlucky, but it happens,” Pitzer said.
Spinner finished with two saves for Olentangy.
Olentangy had its chances, too. Sidney Richards fed through to Kayla Primm, who centered to Natalie Hegg, but Foxworthy was there for the save.
Ireland Fallona hit the crossbar on a shot later in the half and then got past the goalie on the next possession, but Lauren Schnipke saved the day with a clear out of bounds for the Eagles.
Both defenses played a stronger second half. Olentangy had more scoring chances and took more shots, but the chances weren’t as good as in the first half.
“Our keeper, Jordan Foxworthy, is fantastic,” Pitzer said. “They’re not going to beat her (from long distance).”
The best opportunity was when Richards one-timed a feed from Fallona from close range, but Foxworthy was there for the stop. Foxworthy finished with 12 saves for the Eagles.
Both teams return to action in non-league road matchups Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m. Olentangy visits Hilliard Darby and BW travels to Granville in a rematch of last season’s Division II district final game won by the Blue Aces.
Buckeye Valley 13, Columbus International 0
Selina Seliskar, Hanna Fenstermaker and Ellen Riley each found the back of the net twice in the first half as Buckeye Valley parlayed a 9-0 halftime lead into a lopsided non-league win over visiting Columbus International Thursday in Delaware.
Buckeye Valley 3, Galion 1; Big Walnut 3, Newark 0, Olentangy 3, Westerville Central 0.
Columbus Academy 2, Liberty 1.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.