ELIDA — Visions of a district finals loss to Celina danced in the Elida players’ heads.
So Elida trotted out for warmups with a little extra push.
Elida scored early and went on to post a convincing 5-2 girls soccer victory Tuesday night against Celina.
Elida’s Jency Jenkins had three goals and one assist. Cienna Kuhn had two goals. Jaydon Hollstein had four assists.
“I think today we came back with fire in our belly and we wanted to come out and get a good win against a good team,” Kuhn said.
Jenkins added, “That (the district finals loss) gave us a lot of motivation to get out here and change the last two years. If anything, it was a big mental game for us to get us over that big hurdle.’’
Reilly Cox had two goals for Celina.
Elida is 3-1, 2-0 (six points) in the Western Buckeye League. Celina is 1-2-1, 0-1-1 (one point) in the WBL.
Elida is the defending WBL champion, but lost to Celina 2-1 in overtime in the district finals last year at Elida.
Elida returned the nucleus from that team, including five all-WBL players. Celina graduated almost all of its starters, including five of its six all-WBL players.
“We’ve never beat them. We’ve always tied them, at best,” Elida coach Elise Jenkins said. “It’s a good win against a solid, young Celina team.’’
Elida led 3-1 at the half and pushed its lead to 5-1 before Celina scored at the end.
Elida outshot Celina 17-5. Elida had five corner kicks, while Celina only had one.
Celina freshman goalkeeper Kennedy Henry made eight saves. Elida freshman goalkeeper Erika Suever had two saves.
Elida midfielders Aubrey Etzler, Hollstein, Lauren Kesler dominated most of the game and pushed the ball ahead to Kuhn and Jenkins up front.
“I think overall we dominated and the middle was excellent distributing the ball,” Kuhn said.
Added coach Jenkins, “With our middle, if we win the middle, we’re going to win every game. They understand the game and have the mental ability to see the field.’’
Elida scored to make it 1-0 at the 36:24 mark when Jenkins took a pass in the box from Hollstein. Jenkins faked the Celina goalkeeper 12-yards out, then rifled a shot into the lower-left corner of the net.
“That goal gave us complete confidence,” Jenkins said.
The next Elida goal came off an indirect kick from 12-yards out by Hollstein. The shot was saved at the goal line by a Celina defender, but the rebound ended up on Kuhn’s foot, 10-yards out on the left side of the net.
Kuhn rammed it home to make it 2-0 with 29:21 left before halftime.
“I was there for the rebound, in case it ricocheted and it did,’’ Kuhn said.
Cox scored for the Bulldogs to get her team within 2-1 with 21:50 left before the half.
Kuhn connected on a shot from 30-yards out to make it 3-1 with 7:08 left before the half. The shot banged off the left post and curled into the back of the net.
Jenkins scored off another pass from Hollstein to give an Elida a 4-1 lead with 35:53 to go.
Jenkins would take one more pass from Hollstein outside the box and chipped a 22-yard, bending, perfectly placed shot into the upper-left corner of the net.
That gave Elida a 5-1 lead with 25:51 to go.
“That’s one of the shots that when you feel it, you feel it,” Jenkins said.
Until the final five minutes, the Elida defense was strong, led by Baylie Moening, Jessica Siefker, Jacqueline Nichols and Bella Wallace.
And Hollstein was there with perfect passes throughout the game.
“Jaydon is a great passer. She can find anybody,” coach Jenkins said.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.