ELIDA — Bath’s Alyssa Manley was a little banged up, but she kept plugging away.
And so did the rest of the Wildcats.
Bath churned out a 2-0 victory over Celina in the Division II girls soccer district championship game Saturday at Elida.
Bath (13-0-5) advances to the regional semifinals against Clear Fork at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Findlay High School.
It marks the second straight regional appearance for Bath.
“It’s awesome,” Bath defender Kiley Dear said. “It means so much to me in my senior year.”
Bath’s first goal came off a free kick 30 yards out by Katie Dackin. The ball was booted toward the net, but it ricocheted off a Celina defender and into the back of the net. That came with 36:22 left in the first half.
It stayed that way until there was 10:21 left in the game. With the Celina defenders pressing up across midfield, Bath’s Jocelyn Ayers fed Manley the ball right at midfield.
Manley dribbled up field all alone with only the keeper in front of her. She rifled her shot at Celina goalkeeper Callie Vogel, who made a sprawling save, but failed to control the rebound. Ayers was there to pounce on the rebound and pop it into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
“I happened to be there when it got deflected and hit it in,” Ayers said. “I’m just really happy that the odds were in my favor today. … I figured I might as well go up there just in case the ball gets bobbled and it was just sitting there.”
Bath coach Morgan Lashaway said, “We really follow through on the goals in practice and it’s nice to see that type of practice shows off in a game. Jocelyn has a lot of speed and we used that to our benefit, which obviously came in very handy at this point in time to score that second goal.”
Manley, who has 23 goals, made the breakaway charge down field even though she batted through both calf and ankle injuries Saturday. She wasn’t able to start the second half, but entered the game with 32 minutes to play.
“I was just trying to push through for my team,” Manley said.
It marked the 11th shutout for the Wildcats this season. Bath goalkeeper Audrey Brandon made 10 saves.
“Audrey Brandon’s been a key to our success,” Lashaway said. “She had some huge saves today. She’s very good, athletically, physically, toughness. I couldn’t ask for a better keeper back there.”
Celina outshot Bath, 10-8. Celina had the corner-kick edge, 5-0.
Brandon was helped by the play of defenders Dear, Madison Dackin, Tara Herr, Meghan Collins and Lindsay McCoy.
“The thing with Celina is it’s not so much individual players, but they are so good as a team,” Dear said. “We know they work very well at passing and they work very well as a whole. We tried to interfere with them working together.”
Bath, long known for its tradition in softball and girls basketball, now heads back to the regionals.
“It means a lot to my girls,” Lashaway said. “We’ve had to battle through to get to this point and we’ve had to play two of the toughest teams in our league (Shawnee and Celina). … We have some battle scars through this now and we’ll have to battle through that in the coming week.”