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Woodridge girls soccer finding form against unfamiliar foes

by Michael Leonard Sports Editor Published: September 11, 2016 12:00 AM

With its Portage Trail Conference Metro Division schedule a bit staggered, Woodridge girls soccer found its mojo against a pair of teams from far afield last week.

On Sept. 3, Woodridge welcomed Berlin Hiland to Lahoski Field and scored a 3-0 win over the Hawks.

Then on Sept. 6, Canal Fulton Northwest came to Lahoski and fell by the same 3-0 score.

As of press time, Woodridge's record stood at 3-2, 1-0 in the Metro Division.

Bulldogs coach Jason Allenspach said he was expecting a tight contest against the Hawks.

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"The Berlin Hiland game / we stumbled across them last year. It was an evenly played match then. We set the tone very every early against them. It was 1-0 at halftime, but we were able to maintain the possession of the ball."

Woodridge ended up with a 15-1 edge in shots on goal, as goaltender Mary Bates needed to make only one save in the first half. The Bulldogs also finished with a 7-2 edge in corner kicks.

Midway through the first half, Woodridge opened the scoring with a classic play up top.

Senior Mackenzie Mercer was playing at target forward and held the ball well, before laying a pass off to sophomore forward Hailey Ilg. Ilg took the pass and launched a shot into the net, making it 1-0 at halftime.

Early in the second half, senior forward Gracey Radwany manufactured a goal. After winning a 50/50 ball, Radwany got past her marker and made a long run at the goal before putting it up.

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The Schmeltzer sisters combined to get Woodridge's final goal. Sophomore Anna Schmeltzer played a pass which split two Hawk defenders and went right to senior Allison Schmeltzer. The Bulldogs' leading scorer did the rest, putting the ball home.

Allenspach noted things could have been even better for Woodridge had not Hawks goalkeeper Lexi Miller come up with 13 saves in the loss.

"She was a very active goalkeeper Saturday," Allenspach said.

While noting Northwest had played some weaker teams, Allenspach said the Indians came into the contest unbeaten.

"They were 4-0 coming in. They scored 15 goals and only allowed four," Allenspach said. "We needed to make sure we neutralized their offense."

Woodridge did just that, in part by getting its own offense rolling with three goals in the first half.

Woodridge had a 10-1 edge in shots on goal, as Bates needed to make only one save.

"We really did a good job keeping them at bay," Allenspach said. "Our defense was just spot on again, neutralizing any opportunities in front of goal."

Meanwhile, Woodridge opened the scoring in the third minute, thanks to a nice cross from Sam Brodzinski. The ball found Mercer near the penalty spot, as Mercer placed her header into the net.

In the 20th minute, a through ball from Anna Schmeltzer allowed Radwany to run in on goal. Radwany put her right-footed shot on net and the Indians goaltender never reacted, as Allenspach believes she was screened on the play.

In the 26th minute, Radwany turned provider for Brodzinski, finding her just outside the box. Brodzinski launched a perfect shot into the side netting on the back post, making 3-0.

The Bulldogs' possession game effectively killed the contest from there.

Woodridge finds itself in the middle of seven-game road trip. Allenspach called Woodridge's trip to Cloverleaf Sept. 8 "a very big game," while the Bulldogs had a chance to play on a special venue Sept. 10 when it took on Streetsboro at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus. Results of both games were not available at press time.

Woodridge will travel to Orange Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. and Field Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC


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