ELIDA — Coming into Tuesday’s key Western Buckeye League girls’ soccer match-up with visiting St. Marys, Elida was hoping to figure out a way to get off the two-loss skid.
Elida coach Elise Jenkins employed a little different strategy against the Roughriders Tuesday. It took a little while, but it finally paid off.
After getting through a very physical first half of action, in which Elida managed just three shots on goal and the game was tied at 1 apiece at the break, the Bulldogs finally broke through in the second half for a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Roughriders.
At the 14:05 mark of the second half, Elida’s Cienna Kuhn drove a shot past St. Marys goalkeeper Aliya Patterson (six saves) from about 20 yards away for the go-ahead goal, which held up for the rest of the contest.
“My teammate, Bella Wallace, had the ball in the center of the 18,” Kuhn said. “So, I saw the square pass right there, and she gave me a great delivery. I chopped it, to juke the girl, and then I took a hit, and it was a good hit.”
Elida managed to get off five shots on goal in the second half, ending the game with eight. Defensively, Elida (5-3, 3-2 WBL) limited the Roughriders (4-3-1, 3-2) to just three shots on the night, including just one shot in the second half.
“I think we came out a little flat,” Coach Jenkins said. “I had four center-mids (midfielders) there, which we really haven’t done before. But, I think that we’re a really good possess team, and I wanted to work on the through balls tonight. With our two outside mids, Aubrey Etzler and Lauren Kesler, we have the outside game. …I was trying to work on the inside game. Luckily in that (second) half, we figured out a way to get Cienna (Kuhn) the ball. We had all those touches there. It was all about who’s going to be unselfish to take the hit.”
Elida got on the scoreboard first.
At the 14:11 mark of the first half, Jency Jenkins perfectly-placed a corner kick to the front of the net, and teammate Jaydon Hollstein headed the ball past Patterson for the goal.
St. Marys later came back to knot the game at 1 apiece, when Madi Anthony nailed a shot from short distance.
For the game, Elida took a total of seven corner kicks, compared to just one for St. Marys.
“They (St. Marys) had a good game plan,” Coach Jenkins said. “They kind of packed it back. We struggled to score, but I think we wanted it more. I think we showed that we weren’t going to settle for a tie. Both teams played hard. It was a physical game. St. Marys is a good team. I’m just glad to come out with a win. Being the (defending) WBL champs, everyone is going to play their best against us. We have to be ready for that. We need to keep our composure and know this is going to happen.”
St. Marys struggled all night to get good looks at the offensive end.
“Elida put a lot of pressure on us, defensively,” St. Marys coach Seth Hertenstein said. “Each time we got the ball, they were right there in our face. Really, the only thing we could do to try to counter that, was to knock it into space and hold on to it. Usually when you see a lot of pressure like that, it will usually die off. …It didn’t die off at all. They had the energy.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.