KALIDA – Miller City got off to a good start against Kalida in Putnam County League girls soccer that began Wednesday at Kalida Soccer Stadium.
The host Lady Wildcats had more scoring opportunities in the matchup but the visiting Lady Wildcats took advantage of their best chance to escape with a 1-0 victory on a warm evening.
Sophomore Miller City goalkeeper Natalie Koenig stopped 10 of 10 shots on-goal by Kalida in the match.
“This was a huge win for us. They beat us twice last season – once in the regular season and once in the tournament – so we were shooting for this match,” Miller City head coach Ross Heuerman said. “Natalie played a great match for us in goal and once we got the first goal, that did wonders for our confidence; it’s important to get the lead in matches like this. That was a good team we played tonight and the PCL is such a tough league: any team can win it any given year. We came out in the second half and tried to play more ball possession because we know how good Kalida is with their ball possession. We also wanted to win more 50/50 balls and such.”
Kalida head coach Dave Kehres admitted Miller City outplayed his unit.
“They wanted it more than we did; they outplayed us. I can’t say that any clearer,” Kehres said. “We talked to our girls about Koenig before the game and we told them that you can’t hit it right at her; she is too experienced and too good. Whatever it was: corners, crosses, whatever; you can’t put it inside the 6-yard box because she will gather it up. We had some chances throughout the match but we couldn’t get it by her. She did a great job of cutting off our chances; she did what a good goalie is supposed to do and she was where a good goalie is supposed to be throughout the match.”
Miller City (3-3-0, 1-0-0) had their best two chances within the first 4 ½ minutes and made the second pay of against Kalida keeper Bailey White. Sophomore Kayleen Maas followed up her first offering from 8 yards with an even closer follow shot – after hitting the crossbar and collecting the ricochet – and put the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead at 35:43 of the first half.
Miller City would only have one more shot on-goal the rest of the way – at 18:10 of the first half – as Abby Niese’s 16-yarder from the right wing was denied by White.
Kalida also had nine corner kicks to 1 one for Miller City but could not convert.
One of the best chances for Kalida came at 21:15 of the first half as Abby Wurth’s 12-yarder was defended by Koenig.
Other good chances by Kalida came at 30:15 of the second half as Lauren Langhals had a header from in front that hit off the right post and the goalkeeper but they could not get a good follow shot.
At 24:28, Langhals again got an opening as the goalkeeper came off her line but her shot from 16 yards was wide right.
With just 44 seconds to go in the match, Langhals – who faced double teams almost the whole way – got an opening in front in hopes of tying the match but Koenig cut her off before she could get a shot off, preserving the clean sheet for Miller City.