BATH TOWNSHIP — For over 75 minutes, Bath did exactly what it wanted to do.
Then it happened.
Late in the second half, Elida broke away and got into the box, where a handball was called on one of the Bath defenders.
Elida senior Jency Jenkins got her opportunity for a penalty kick with 4 minutes, 51 seconds left to play in the game.
Jenkins – who was kept in check for most of the game – drilled the penalty kick into the left corner of the net, where Bath goalkeeper Emily Rocca (four saves) made a valiant effort to knock it down, but could not quite get to it.
Elida held off Bath down the stretch for a hard-fought 1-0 victory in girls’ soccer in the Western Buckeye League opener for both teams.
Elida improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the WBL. Bath slips to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in league play.
For the game, Bath outshot Elida 11-7. All night long, both teams took long-range shots at the goal, as both defenses stepped up around the box.
“That was two teams out there, playing with heart,” Elida coach Elise Jenkins said. “It could have gone either way. It was a hard-fought battle. My girls were tired that first half. I thought Bath controlled that first half. They played with more composure.
“I told them they had to dig deep. I think the girls stepped up in the second half. Jency (Coach Jenkins’ sister) stepped up. I think putting her as a forward really helped our offense get some speed.”
Bath did a nice job of tracking Jenkins. For the game, Jenkins managed just one shot on goal, which came late in the second half.
“Bath was really marking me in the middle,” Jency Jenkins said. “It was hard to get the ball and travel with it. I really had to get it on the run and move to spaces.”
Jenkins admitted that she felt some pressure on the penalty kick.
“I really do practice penalty kicks a lot,” Jenkins said with a smile. “So, I felt pretty confident. But, I don’t think there’s a player out there that doesn’t feel like jello when they step to the line.”
Elida goalkeeper Erika Suever turned away seven shots on the night, including six in the second half.
In the first half, Bath took four shots on goal, while Elida managed three good looks.
“I hate that word unlucky – I really do,” Bath coach Brooke Herr said. “But, that’s what it feels like. I thought we were really vested in the game – physically, mentally and emotionally. So, it’s that much harder to take this loss. But, I’m so proud of them.
“They’ve really bought into what we’ve been preaching, and they gave everything. We just couldn’t put one through.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.