Emma Padgett and Avery Schone scored two goals apiece as host Big Walnut handled Worthington Christian 4-0 in girls soccer non-league action Saturday afternoon in Sunbury.
Padgett rattled one by a defender to break free and give BW (7-2-4) a 1-0 lead with 33:34 left in the first half.
“I was able to turn the defender and get behind her and slip that one in,” Padgett said. “I had that one touch in and it gave me the space I needed.”
Schone made it 2-0 at the 27:35 mark of the first with a perfectly placed ball top left from deep.
“She’s just a rock-solid player in the middle,” BW coach Drew Pitzer said. “She’s one of the most consistent players I’ve ever coached. She just brings her hard-hat and it was really good to see her get rewarded with those two goals.”
Schone found Padgett with a touch pass to push it to 3-0 with 21:44 remaining in the opening half – a lead that would carry to the break.
“She just knows what to do – she’s very smart,” Pitzer said. “(She) knows her angles, knows where to hit the ball (and) she studies the game. She’s here before practice, she’s here after practice … she’s committed.”
Schone found the net again with 35:21 left in the game off a Kaitlin Meade assist for the final margin.
The Golden Eagles, led by goal keeper Payton Carter, pitched their fifth consecutive shutout and ninth overall this season in the win. Carter had five saves against WC.
BW’s defense gave up seven goals in a two-game stretch against Olentangy Orange (a 4-0 loss Aug. 29) and Westerville Central (a 4-3 victory Sept. 5), but has given up just two goals in nine game after giving up no goals in the two games previous.
“We have a lot of faith in the back,” Padgett said. “So, we don’t crowd them. We have a really good relationship with our defenders and our midfielders and our forwards, so we don’t crowd each other. We trust each other to be able to get the job done.”
Still, while the Eagles, ranked fifth in last week’s Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Division-II poll, have excelled defensively, their offense has struggled at times.
They are only 3-0-2 during this current run of shutouts and have been shutout six times this season overall.
Pitzer likened it to a shooter in basketball in a cold streak. He said they have to keep shooting.
“It’s confidence,” he said. “They saw the ball go in the back of the net eight times last game and that helps.”
BW put up eight goals in the win over Newark Tuesday to break the cold spell.
“When we relaxed a little bit and calmed, the balls started going in easy,” Padgett said. “Then we just started having fun with it and we got really creative and that just made it a whole lot easier.”
Another bright spot was the return of Emily Neff, who tore her ACL at the end of the last basketball season. She played for the first time since the injury – a welcomed sight for Pitzer.
“She’s back sooner than we expected,” he said. “She hasn’t been able to train – she started training this week. She’s still really trying to get back into shape and it’ll come. We’re excited to have her back with her leadership and experience.”
BW snapped a four-game winning streak for Worthington Christian (6-3-3), which was knocking on the door of the top-10 in last week’s Division-III poll.
Ellie Bowers had 10 saves in goal for WC.
Next up, BW hosts Franklin Heights in OCC-Capital action Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.