ASHLAND — Bay goalkeeper Maeve Johnston has come up big for the Rockets all year.
Saturday was no exception.
Johnson made a leaping tip save with the game on the line which helped spark Bay Village Bay to a 4-0 victory over Wapakoneta in the Division II girls soccer regional final Saturday at Ashland University.
Bay (13-5-3) advances to the state semifinals against the Mentor Lake Catholic, a 2-1 winner against Richfield Revere, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at a site to be named.
The Redskins end their year 12-6-2.
Bay led 1-0 at the half, in which it controlled the ball about 80 percent of the half.
“Their speed of play was faster,” Wapak coach Mike Foor said. “I think it surprised us how fast they were. When we got the ball, they were on us.’’
Wapak started strong in the second half with an offensive surge through the midfield.
Wapakoneta forward Emily Ruppert had a breakaway two minutes into the second half. She took the ball into the box and fired a rising line-drive shot from 12-yards out, which appeared headed just under the crossbar.
Johnston leaped and barely tipped it over the bar for the save the game.
“I knew she (Emily Ruppert) was a good player and she had a good shot,” Johnston said. “I was lucky to get my hands on it because she struck that very well. … We definitely got our momentum (after that).’’
That leaping save kept Bay with a 1-0 lead with 38 minutes to play.
“Maeve (Johnston) is incredible,” Bay coach Beth English said. “Maeve’s been doing that all season for us. She has made some outstanding, fabulous saves. We trust her back there.’’
Added Foor, “That was huge. Their goalkeeper, from what we read, is very good and she showed that. It was a great shot.’’
Then with 32:25 to play, Wapakoneta goalkeeper Corrine Raney came out of the goalbox to stop Bay’s Abby Shuster at the left post.
Shuster slide the ball to Abby Smith, who pounded the ball into the open right side of the net.
That gave Bay a 2-0 lead.
Bay extended its lead to 3-0 when Madison Wall hit a laser shot into the net from the top of the arc, 22-yards out.
That came with 19:59 to go.
Bay closed out the scoring with an own goal with 13:27 to go.
Olivia Reed played the ball into the goalbox and the ball ricocheted off a Wapak defender and into the net to make it 4-0.
Bay outshot Wapak 17-5.
Raney came up with 10 saves, with very few of the easy variety.
Johnston made four saves for Bay.
Both teams had four corner kicks.
Bay controlled the midfield most of the match.
Bay’s quick steals and precision-passing game was too much for the Redskins.
Bay took a 1-0 lead with 38:54 left in the first half when Reed passed inside the 18-yard box to Avery Alexy, who chipped it home from 7-yards out.
Then, there was the Bay defense.
Bay defender Haylee Duffy smothered Wapak forward Abigail Ruppert and followed her every step of the match.
Bay also rotated defenders on Wapak’s Emily Ruppert and Morgan Follin.
“Our defense has been rock solid all year,” English said. “It’s come together as one team back there. They trust each other.’’
It was Wapakoneta’s first trip to the girls soccer regional finals after it lost in the regional semifinals last year.
“We’re extremely proud of the team and the seniors,” Foor said. “Their goal was to get further in the tournament and we accomplished that.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.