Girls soccer: Ottoville gets traction in time

LIMA — It took Ottoville nearly one half to get the feel for the field turf.

After that, the Big Green took control in a 3-0 girls soccer victory over Lima Central Catholic on Saturday morning at Spartan Stadium.

It was opening match for both teams.

Paige Turnwald, Eryn Kemper and Isabelle Moreno scored for Ottoville.

Jessa Burgei had two assists.

“We started off really slow,” Ottoville coach Doug German said. “Obviously, we don’t play on turf a lot and we had to get used to the field.

“LCC got worn out a bit. They didn’t have a lot of subs. In the second half, we started moving the ball and passing the ball and seeing what’s available.’’

Ottoville led 1-0 at the half and controlled close to 70 percent of the possession time in the first half.

In the second half, the Big Green controlled the ball about 90 percent, as it continually worked the ball around and through the LCC 18-yard box.

“Our coaches got on us this week, especially with us playing on turf, and demanded we use the soft touches and work the ball through the midfield,’’ Burgei said.

Ottoville outshot LCC for the match, 18-5.

LCC entered the match with only 12 active players, which left only one sub on the bench for most of the day.

And one LCC player left the game for good with a hamstring injury late in the game, which gave the T-Birds no subs.

“We have so many new players this year, and low numbers, it’s a work in progress,” LCC coach Mike Santaguida said. “There were some positives today. We had our chances to score. Olivia (Stolly) had two breakaway chances. It’s there.

“And as the game wore on, we got a little tired.’’

LCC goalkeeper Anna Wannemacher made 12 saves, including several sliding and diving stops.

“This is Anna’s second year starting for us in goal and has what it takes,” Santaguida said. “She hates to lose.’’

Ottoville goalkeeper Madison Hoersten had two saves.

For the Big Green, there didn’t seem to be a major adjustment to the turf of Spartan Stadium.

“It was definitely something new,” Burgei said. “It was something we had to get used to. It took time to get used to it with the passing. The first half was a little rough. We wanted to pass harder and we weren’t used to it.

“Once we got going in the second half, we had the feel for it. I really like playing on turf.’’

The lone goal of the first half came at the 26:36 mark.

Burgei dribbled into the left corner and shot a pass to Turnwald in the heart of the field. Turnwald chipped a shot from 25-yards out just under the crossbar for a goal.

That gave the Big Green a 1-0 lead.

“Jess (Burgei) is a go-getter,” German said. “She goes, goes, goes until there is no end.’’

The Big Green continued to buzz the LCC net, but the three LCC defenders, Katie Cox, Emily Morrisey and Paige Brinkman turned most of the Ottoville offensive surges away.

The Big Green outshot the T-Birds in the first half, 5-3.

Two of the T-Birds’ three shots in the first half came on breakaway attempts by Olivia Stolly.

In the second half, Ottoville controlled the midfield with its crisp, short passing game.

A non-goalkeeper save happened for each team early in the second half.

With 33 minutes to play, Burgei fired for Ottoville and Wannemacher made a save, but couldn’t control the ball, as it danced just in front of the goal line.

Finally, it was LCC defender Morrisey who booted it off the line.

Then, LCC’s Stolly had a shot with 31 minutes left and it was Ottoville center defender Bryleigh Napao who made the kick save at the goal line.

With 19:37 to go, Burgei sent a 6-yard pass to Kemper, who turned and shot from 8-yards out and into the back of the net.

That gave Ottoville a 2-0 lead.

The Big Green made it 3-0 with 4:14 to go when Moreno gobbled up a loose ball and fired it home from 8-yards out.

“In the second half, we started talking and moving the ball,” German said. “We started going to the ball and being aggressive. We spread the field out and got opportunities.’’

Tom Usher wrote this story for The Lima News. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.