Braves edge Panthers


Head back to D-I regional championship

Olentangy’s Ireland Fallona dribbles past a Pickerington North defender during the second half of Tuesday’s Division I regional semifinal in Gahanna. Fallona scored the game’s only goal.

Olentangy’s Ireland Fallona dribbles past a Pickerington North defender during the second half of Tuesday’s Division I regional semifinal in Gahanna. Fallona scored the game’s only goal.


The Braves’ Stephanie Burzynski controls the ball in the midfield during Tuesday’s semifinal against the Panthers.


Staff Report

Well, this feels familiar.

The Olentangy girls soccer team advanced to its second straight regional championship Tuesday night, edging 10th-ranked Pickerington North 1-0 in a Division I regional semifinal at Gahanna Lincoln.

After failing to get much of anything on net through the first 30-plus minutes of action, the Braves’ Ireland Fallona found the back of it to give her team a 1-0 lead with 5:17 left in the first half.

The Panthers (14-2-4) and keeper Morgan Conklin failed to clear a bouncing ball in the box and Fallona found herself in the right place at the right time, weaving through traffic before bumping the ball into a relatively wide-open net to give the Braves (14-5-1) an edge they never relinquished.

The scrum just in front of the goal was reminiscent of the rest of the game, which featured a flurry of dangerous second-half chances by both teams.

North’s Cameron Shedenhelm got the first of them, collecting the ball near midfield before using her speed to beat the Olentangy back line and fire a shot from just inside the box. Braves goalie Kelsey Hill was up for the challenge, though, making a tough play look easy by calmly saving the low liner.

Makenzie Kelly got in on the act minutes later, taking a close-range shot from the left side of the goal, but Hill redirected it wide to preserve the slim 1-0 lead.

The Panthers headed the ensuing corner kick over the crossbar and the Braves regrouped with 18 minutes to go.

The win avenged a 3-0 loss Olentangy suffered at the hand of Pickerington North back in September. That loss seemed to light a fire under the Braves, who have won nine of their last 10 since the setback.

After winning their first district title in school history last season, Olentangy, with back-to-back league and district titles under its belt, will look to grab its first regional crown in Saturday’s final.

Olentangy will play district-rival Liberty, a 3-1 winner over Upper Arlington in Wednesday’s other semi, in the regional championship at Westerville Central. The Braves beat the Patriots 1-0 in last fall’s regional semifinal before falling to state runner-up Dublin Coffman in the final. Liberty won this year’s regular-season showdown 4-1.

Olentangy’s Ireland Fallona dribbles past a Pickerington North defender during the second half of Tuesday’s Division I regional semifinal in Gahanna. Fallona scored the game’s only goal.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/11/web1_olen51.jpgOlentangy’s Ireland Fallona dribbles past a Pickerington North defender during the second half of Tuesday’s Division I regional semifinal in Gahanna. Fallona scored the game’s only goal.

The Braves’ Stephanie Burzynski controls the ball in the midfield during Tuesday’s semifinal against the Panthers.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/11/web1_olen131.jpgThe Braves’ Stephanie Burzynski controls the ball in the midfield during Tuesday’s semifinal against the Panthers.
Head back to D-I regional championship