Girls soccer: Ottawa-Glandorf wins Division III regional

TIFFIN — Final four bound.

For the second straight season, Ottawa-Glandorf is returning to the final four in Division III girls high school soccer after blanking Toledo Woodmore, 1-0, in the regional finals on a windy Saturday afternoon.

The Titans improve to 19-1-2 and advance to play Tuesday against Akron Manchester at a site and time to be determined. Woodmore ends its year with a 15-4-1 mark.

“Pumped. I am pumped,” Titan head coach Michelle Maag said about making it back to the final four. “I am so excited and so proud of these girls and they have done so much hard work this year. I feel like they are still hungry to finish it. We will enjoy this now, rest and get ready for the big one on Tuesday.”

Defense once again pushed the Titans to the victory after producing their 15th straight shutout and fourth in the playoffs. The Titans have 19 shutouts this season.

Titan keeper Emma Brinkman said, “Our team has put in a lot of work since the beginning of the season and preseason we have worked hard in practice to build to this moment. We took one day at a time and each practice and each game at a time to get to this spot, and I am so excited. It is an amazing experience.

O-G got the one goal it needed on a header from Karsyn Erford who found the loose ball off a corner kick from Bri Douglass and promptly knocked it into the back of the net with 8:32 left in the first half. This is Erford’s fifth goal of the season and all have come in the postseason.

We talked about going into the tournament and the season about set pieces and how free kicks and corner kicks will win you games,” Maag said. “We worked on that moving into practice and it was a good ball in by Bri Douglass and an excellent finish by Carsyn.”

Because of the Titans’ tenacious defense, giving up nine goals all year, the Wildcats must have felt like it was a 10-0 lead as they did all they could in the second half to gain the equalizer. However, the Titans’ defenders, led by Carlie Brinkman, Megan Horstman and Maggie Verhoff, along with goalie senior keeper Emma Brinkman, continually thwarted several Wildcat scoring opportunities.

The Wildcats came close to knotting the score around seven minutes left in the game when Woodmore’s Caydie Buchanan launched a shot towards the goal and with the wind, Brinkman had to adjust and watched as the ball skirted by her into the out of bounds.

“We made sure that we were going to limit their shooters and we wanted to make sure they didn’t get any free touches or free shots and our defense bought into that and did a great job,” Maag said.

Brinkman said, “It was a very hard fought game by both teams and feel both teams put in their best effort, Our team continued to work through every obstacle and kept pushing through the wind and everything. Our defense is one of a kind and they are amazing and it makes my job a lot easier. I trust my teammates with my whole life They know how to judge and clear. They know when to pass. I trust them and they did a great job (today).”

Brinkman made three saves on the day. Woodmore’s Layla McGinnis had eight saves. The Titans out shot Woodmore 8-3.

Maag added that the team had to adjust to the wind conditions in the second half with the Titans having the wind in their favor in the first and and the opposite in the second half.

“We talked how we wanted to play the ball a little lower and connect some passes and feeds and apply some pressure a little bit,” Maag said. “We did a good job containing their speed up front they were very quick with all three forwards so I thought our back line did a great job of pressuring them.”

Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.