CONTINENTAL — With the girls soccer season ready to begin tournament play, Kalida and Continental still had matters to settle Tuesday.
Such as the Putnam County League title.
With the visiting Wildcats trailing the Pirates by one game, Kalida earned a title tie with a 3-1 victory.
“We told the girls to treat it like a tournament game. We knew Continental had a good team and they would be ready to go with what was on the line,” Wildcat head coach Dave Kehres said. “We had some chances in the first half but couldn’t connect. We told the girls to keep battling and we’d eventually score. When we started this season, we had some defenders to replace but they have been playing very well the last few weeks; just at the right time. It helps to have (goalkeeper) Bailey (White) behind them but those in front of her have made it much easier for her. We are gelling at the right time.”
Continental head coach Toby Bidlack took the blame for the loss.
“That was my fault that we didn’t come out as mentally and physically ready to play as we needed. Kalida had us back on our heels from the start,” Bidlack said. “Once we fell behind by a goal, we got tight. It was still within a goal but once they scored their second goal, it took the wind out of our sails and we couldn’t answer today. We have some recovering to do in the next few days. We close at St. John’s Saturday and we need to get back to playing well; we have to come back mentally and physically, as well as technically and tactically.”
After a scoreless draw in the first half, Kalida (11-4-1, 3-1-0 PCL) needed nearly 10 minutes to take a 1-0 lead.
Continental (11-4-1, 3-1-0 PCL) had an opening just 1:30 into the half as Alex Hoeffel fired from 15 yards on the right side but White (5 saves versus 6 shots on-goal) deflected it away and finally got possession.
After Sydney Wurth hit the left post from 15 yards at 33:40, she got the Wildcats on the board at 30:36. Wurth got possession inside the left post and from just outside the box, she fired a 19-yarder inside that post past Pirate goalkeeper Angel Brzozowki (10 saves versus 13 shots on-goal) for a 1-0 lead.
Kalida kept attacking and at 27:38, Kenzie Fortman made it a 2-0 lead. After the Continental goalkeeper failed to clear a ball from in front of the net, the freshman pounced on the open chance and found the back of the net from point-blank range.
With 1:51 to go in the matchup, Halie Kaufman found home from 15 yards inside the left post to that side.
With a mere five seconds to go, Kalida was called for a foul in the box and Hoeffel went high and to the right on the penalty kick past White.
In the first half, Continental had the first opening at 37:24 when Jensen Armey had a 15-yarder from the right wing but it was deflected out of bounds by White.
Kalida had a couple of chances at 32:50 when first, Madison Langhals was denied by the goalkeeper but Lauren Langhals had an even closer follow-up that was denied by a defender near the goal line, with the Pirates able to eventually clear the ball.
Kalida had more openings in the first half to go up by a goal but Brzozowski was up to the task, stopping seven shots in the half and getting a break when – at 27:10 – Lauren Langhals had a 10-yard head off a corner kick denied by a defender.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.