LIMA – Lima Central Catholic wanted to focus on making that extra pass in Monday’s Division III sectional semifinal girls’ soccer match against Delphos St. John’s at Spartan Stadium.
The T-Birds wanted to avoid settling for the long shot, way outside the box.
The result of LCC’s game plan was St. John’s fighting off a barrage of shots at close range.
The T-Birds managed to put seven of its 22 shots on goal into the back of the net, en route to a convincing 7-0 victory over St. John’s Monday night.
With the victory, LCC (8-6-2) advances to Wednesday’s sectional final at Ottoville, when the T-Birds take on Ottoville at 5 p.m.
LCC set the tone early on Monday, as Avery Rice knocked in the first of her three goals on the night, just 10 minutes into the game, giving her team the early 1-0 lead.
By the halftime break, Rice and teammate Jessica Wilker each added a goal to give LCC a 3-0 lead.
For the game, Rice took eight shots on goal, including seven in the first half.
“We were just trying to work on a few things,” LCC coach Mike Santaguida said. “Lately, we’ve been working on getting that extra pass and getting the ball inside the 18 (-yard box), with one or two more touches to finish it. Once we started making that extra pass, we started really putting the ball in the back of the net.
“So, I was pleased that we just didn’t take the 20-yard shot. We built on our attack, and got more numbers into our attack and made that extra pass. It seemed to work out for us tonight.”
The T-Birds came out strong in the second half, scoring just 14 seconds into it, on a break-away goal by Rice, giving the T-Birds a 4-0 advantage.
Then, less than two minutes later, Jenna Rose received a perfect cross from Rice, and drove it into the back of the net, giving LCC the 5-0 lead.
The T-Birds rounded out their scoring with goals by Leti Alcaraz at the 26:41 mark of the second half, and a goal by Emily Scarberry with just 10 seconds left to play.
“We got a lot of girls involved tonight, and that was nice to see,” Santaguida said. “We always tell them to shoot the ball. We tell them that Avery’s not the only one who can score. So, it was nice to see the other girls finally pulling the trigger and getting some good shots on goal.”
Besides Rice taking eight shots on goal, teammates Sophia Santaguida (four shots), Wilker (three shots), Scarberry (two shots), Cecilia Riepenhoff (two shots) and Alcaraz (two shots) all had multiple shots for LCC.
The T-Birds took a total of eight corner kicks, while St. John’s did not take one the entire night.
For the game, St. John’s (1-16) managed just four shots on goal.
“LCC is a quality team,” St. John’s coach Katrina Smith said. “Our girls did a great job of holding to our game plan. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. They (LCC) are fast. We just didn’t quite keep up.”
St. John’s freshman goalkeeper Reagan Ulm kept busy, coming up with 16 saves.
“She’s a first-year, freshman goalie,” Smith said about Ulm. “She’s done what we have asked. She’s been playing against seniors who are top scorers, all year. We had a very strong schedule, and she’s been a really strong force for us back there.”