Girls soccer: Ottawa-Glandorf shuts down Riverdale

WAPAKONETA — All season, Ottawa-Glandorf girls soccer head coach Michelle Maag has preached to her team about getting off to a strong start in each match.

In Tuesday’s Division III regional semifinal matchup with Riverdale, Ottawa-Glandorf got out to a quick start at the offensive end, then shut the door at the defensive end, en route to a 3-0 victory over Riverdale at Mercy Health/ Wapak Ford Field at Harmon Stadium.

With the win, O-G (18-1-2) will take on Elmore Woodmore at noon Saturday at Tiffin’s Frost-Kalnow Stadium for a regional title. Riverdale ends its season, 12-6-2.

“It’s important for us to come out and be aggressive,” Maag said. “I thought that our forwards and our mids (midfielders) did a good job with that – coming out and playing with good pace.

“I thought our offensive game got better as we went on. … I thought it was better in the second half, than in the first. It was a gritty game. The kids stepped up and took some good shots. I’m just proud of the whole group, today.”

It did not take long for O-G to get on the scoreboard.

At the 36:55 mark of the first half, O-G junior Mackenzie Recker scored a goal, right in front of the net.

That was the kind of start Maag was looking for.

“It absolutely builds confidence for us to put that first goal in, early,” Maag said. “We talk about that, going into every game – that we want to come out with a fast start. So, credit the kids for following that mission.

“We said the same thing after the first half. … We wanted to come out and set the pace. Again, we got an early goal in the second half. That puts the pressure on the other team; and it just allows us to play our game.”

In the first half, O-G took four shots on goal. Riverdale managed to get just one clean shot off in the first 40 minutes.

O-G ended the game with 10 shots on goal, while Riverdale did not get a shot off in the second half, ending the night with just one shot on goal.

The Titans came out aggressive to start the second half.

At the 34:53 mark of the second half, senior Lily Haselman dialed long distance, as she booted a shot 25 yards out for a goal, to push the O-G lead to 2-0.

Then, with 17:22 left in the contest, O-G struck again.

Recker scored her second goal on the night. This time, it was a long shot from the right side of the field, giving the Titans the three-goal lead.

For the game, O-G took a total of four corner kicks. Riverdale never did record a corner kick.

Riverdale goalkeeper Anjelina Sierra made eight saves, six of those coming in the second half.

“I thought after that first goal, Riverdale settled into a possession game; and we got caught chasing them a little bit,” Maag said. “So, we talked at halftime about picking up our defensive pressure. I thought that was the difference at the start of the second half; and we did a little better job of connecting passes. … I thought we had some giveaways in the first half. In the second half, we cleaned that up; and we played a better all-around defensive game.”

Ottawa-Glandorf, the Western Buckeye League champion this season, did not allow a goal against league opponents this fall.

“Defense is priority one, here for Lady Titans soccer,” Maag said. “Obviously, it starts with our defenders and our (goal)keeper (Emma Brinkman). They’re working really well together. … There is some good chemistry back there. But our defenders would be the first ones to tell you that it starts with our forwards; and everyone has to buy in to playing great defense. That’s how you get minutes on our team. It takes all 11 (players on the field) to be a good defensive team.”

More than anything, Maag was pleased to come away with a win Tuesday night.

“They (games) don’t have to be pretty. You just have to win them and move on. I’m excited for another big match on Saturday,” Maag said with a grin.

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