TIFFIN — When Lima Shawnee’s Chloe Cleaves scored to tie Rocky River 1-1 two minutes into the second half, it appeared the Indians were poised to make a run at the Pirates.
But after tying the game it was the Pirates who upped their offensive game and recorded four goals in the final 20 minutes to secure a 5-1 win in the Division II regional final Saturday.
The loss ends Shawnee’s season with a 16-2 mark. Rocky River (19-2) advances to the state semifinals Tuesday.
“It was great for Chloe to get that set piece and get the equalizer but Rocky River is a very technical team and it just proved to be too much for us the last 17 minutes of the game and they poured some in on us,” Shawnee head coach Caroline O’Brien said. “It was a strong first half defensively. I thought we did a great job defensively and just had some breakdowns the last 17 minutes of the game.
The five goals given up were the most the Indians had given up to an opponent this year and prior to this game Shawnee had given up three goals only twice this year. For the season, Shawnee had yielded a total of 11 goals.
In the first half, Shawnee’s defense and goalie Kaelen Swallow held up against Rocky River’s firepower until the 16:41 mark when the Pirates worked their way deep into Indian territory and Annika Mocho struck one past Swallow.
Shawnee had trouble putting together any type of serious offensive threat in the first half but at the onset of the second half began to build much better and that eventually led to Cleaves’ score who, from the 30 yard line, arched one towards the Pirate goal that Rocky River keeper Caitlyn Rose got a hand on but could not stop.
Unlike Wednesday’s game where the Indians’ built on their momentum after scoring, Shawnee never seemed to find the right touch for another score.
Rocky River did and scored four times, twice by sophomore Ava Pratt and goals from Maeve Kelly and Kelly O’ Toole.
For the game, the Pirates had 15 shots on goal and Shawnee had one.
“They (Rocky River) are very talented and the way through the midfield. They are very strong strong out of the air as well and they just made some connecting passing and using their speed out wide, crossing it back to the inside and that is one of the most dangerous passes you can make in the game soccer,”
The loss ended a historic season for the Indians who had made their first trip to the regionals and an emotional O’Brien praised her team and that included Swallow, Taylor Morris, Kennedy Jensen, Bri Ridenour and Lily Cleaves.
“This group of seniors has been fantastic,” O’Brien said. “They have been leaders since their freshman year and I am so proud of them and the adversity they have overcome with COVID last year and the year before. They have been the strength and the glue of this team and it is hard to seem them go.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.