OTTOVILLE – Spencerville’s Emma Leis kept looking for Kelsey Shaffer.
Then late in the first half, Leis found her, not once, but twice.
Shaffer scored twice from Leis to help Spencerville post a 3-0 victory over Lima Central Catholic in the Division III girls soccer district semifinals Tuesday at Ottoville.
Shaffer had two goals and an assist. Leis had two assists and a goal.
That gives Shaffer 20 goals on the year.
“I always have faith when Emma (Leis) gets it she’ll look toward me and she’ll try to play it up for me,” Shaffer said. “She’s a great teammate and she played the ball perfectly. I thought I was going to kick it to the keeper, but I caught up to it and hit in the back of the net. It was a happy moment.’’
The Northwest Conference champion Bearcats (15-3) advance to their first girls soccer district finals against the Kalida/Coldwater winner at 5 p.m. Saturday at Ottoville.
“We didn’t even have the sport four years ago,” Spencerville coach Kathy Goecke said. “The seniors started it and this is their year to make it happen.’’
LCC ends its season 8-10.
Spencerville won the regular-season match between the two, 2-1.
LCC dominated the action for the first 25 minutes, but couldn’t find the net.
“It seems like we outpossess a team and we outshot them tonight and we just can’t find the back of the net,” LCC coach Mike Santaguida said. “That’s been our issue all year. My girls played hard.’’
The T-Birds ended up outshooting Spencerville 18-6.
LCC goalkeeper Kitt Siatkosky had two saves.
Spencerville goalkeeper Kottia Williams had 11 saves.
LCC’s midfielders kept pushing the ball up to the forwards in the first half, but the Bearcats’ defense and Williams kept turning them away.
Then, with 13:54 left in the first half, Spencerville got the ball on the quick counter attack.
“At first Kelsey (Shaffer) was on the outside, but I moved her back in the center because we needed that midfield control,” Goecke said. “I wanted to put her quickness and ball handling more in the middle and we were able to connect.’’
Leis played the ball through the back end of the LCC defense to Shaffer.
Shaffer charged through the box one-on-one with the LCC goalkeeper and fired a low liner into the lower-right corner of the net from 10-yards out.
That gave Spencerville a 1-0 lead.
“Our team seems to pick it up once there’s a goal,” Shaffer said. “We said, ‘We can win this,’ and I think that’s what led to our second goal.’’
Then, with 5:20 left in the first half, the Bearcats struck again.
Once more it was Leis, from 35-yards out, playing the ball to Shaffer at the top of the 18-yard box.
Shaffer entered the box again one-one-one with LCC’s goalkeeper. She faked and fired another low shot into the net from 12-yards out.
That pushed the Bearcats lead to 2-0 entering halftime.
With close to 20 minutes to play, LCC moved 20-goal scorer Annika Wilker from defense to forward and she immediately fired a few quality shots on goal.
But Williams was there with the saves.
Spencerville’s midfield began making plays in the second half and that led to its third goal.
This time Shaffer came through the midfield and fed Leis on the right edge of the 18-yard box. Leis dribbled to 15-yards out and fired.
LCC’s Siatkosky appeared to have made the save, but it was ruled the ball crossed the goal line before she secured it.
That gave the Bearcats a 3-0 lead with 14:32 to go.
It was a nice run for the four LCC seniors.
“It was a great four years for my seniors,” Santaguida said. “We had two district championships and four sectional championships.’’
It’s been a big year for Spencerville girls soccer.
In just their fourth year of existence, the Bearcats have reached their first district finals. They’re also playing on their new turf field (the football field).
“It’s amazing to have the turf and to play with all these girls since I was younger,” Shaffer said.