Dublin Jerome’s Emma Sears had the goal surrounded for most of the night, but it was the one that she finally got to go in that was the difference.
Sears’ goal with 9:58 left sent Dublin Jerome past visiting Olentangy Orange 1-0 in a Division I girls soccer district semifinal Tuesday night in Dublin.
Megan Brehmer sent a long lead pass from midfield to a streaking Sears down the left side. Sears took the pass and beat Orange goalie Hannah Sargent to the right.
“They did a nice job breaking us down a little bit and we didn’t recover fast enough,” Orange coach Jim Daugherty said.
The 21st-seeded Pioneers were hoping to do to Jerome what New Albany had done last year — pick up an upset on the Celtics’ home field.
Sears and her teammates had missed on several chances leading up to the goal.
Rachel Butler fed her on a cross that she sent wide in the 48th minute for the fourth-seeded Celtics (13-3-2).
Sargent made a diving stop on a shot by Sears and Brehmer sent a shot wide later in the possession with about 18 minutes left.
Sears evaded a couple of defenders to set herself up in a one-on-one situation with the goalie, but missed wide right in the 78th minute.
Sargent and the Orange defense held up all night against the Celtics, who peppered 17 shots and 10 shots on goal in the match.
“We knew going into the game that it was going to be 1-0 or 2-1,” Daugherty said. “As long as we did our job defensively, they weren’t going to get much and we know that they don’t give up many goals.”
Sargent had to make a diving stop on a shot by Sears to keep it scoreless in the 61st minute. She finished with eight saves for the Pioneers (5-10-4).
“We did a good job of keeping our body in front of them,” Daugherty said. “We tried to make it hard on them to get off a clean look. Most of the shots they had weren’t good looks. A couple of them were nice looks — Hannah made a nice save on the one. For the most part, it was not too horribly dangerous.”
Camilla Hall helped her out by blocking a Rachel Butler header in front of goal in the fifth minute.
“I was very happy with the way our defense played just to keep them to just the one goal — they did a great job,” Daugherty said.
Meanwhile, the scoring chances just weren’t there for the Pioneers. Hall sent a shot high for Orange’s first shot in the 45th minute.
“They also have speed,” Daugherty said. “We had a couple of opportunities where I thought we were going to get behind them, but we couldn’t quite complete the deal.”
Jess Walsh finished with a pair of saves for the Celtics.
Jerome advances to the district final against eighth-seeded Bishop Watterson Saturday at a time and site to be announced.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.