COLUMBUS — For the second straight year, the Blue and Gold had to settle for silver.
Cincinnati Country Day’s late second half goal proved to be the difference as the Nighthawks downed Ottawa-Glandorf, 1-0, in the Division III state final contest at Lower.com on a rainy Friday.
This is Country Day’s third state championship and second in four years and the Nighthawks end their year with a 19-5 mark. The Titans finished the year with a 20-2-2 record.
“It was not the way we hoped it would go but ultimately I think the girls have really shown what they were made of,” Titan head coach Michelle Maag said. “They played a full 80 minutes and gave 100 percent. We are disappointed with the results but I can’t say enough good things about our team and pretty much given everything they had, especially with our four seniors. They have led the way. They paved the way. They have set the bar incredibly high and I am just thankful to be a part of it.”
Country Day’s Megan Zimmerman scored the lone goal of the game when she fired one past Titan keeper Emma Brinkman with 9:32 left in the game to give the Nighthawks the score they would need to secure the win.
“That was such a great game,” CCD head coach Theresa Hirschauer. “Hats off to Ottawa. She (Maag) has done such a great job with their program and we were thrilled to be a part of it.”
Both teams came into the contest having not given up a goal throughout the postseason and O-G was riding a 16-game shutout streak so there was little surprise of the final outcome.
Both teams had scoring opportunities but as expected not much was getting past either team’s defenses.
The Titans came out aggressive and had some early chances that were thwarted by Nighthawk keeper C.J. Debra and Titan keeper Brinkman also made some spectacular saves to keep the Nighthawks off the board in the first half.
For the game Brinkman, finished with five saves and Debra ended the night with six saves.
“We wanted to come out and be aggressive and obviously defense is priority one for us and we wanted the back line to shore things up and shut their shooters down and ultimately I thought we did a relatively good job of that,” Maag said. “Our moments came offensively but we didn’t find the back of the net.”
Titan senior Claira Beach said the team tried keep it simple when it came to scoring and on a least three occasions came close to breaking through.
“”Obviously they are really good defenders and they are really good at containing,” Beach said. “As forwards we kind of decided that they stepped quick so we had to play out quick and that meant playing one-two touch and play simple instead of the long balls and personally trying to beat one vs. one wasn’t really there for us so we played as a team and that is what we have done best all year and that kind of helped us have success throughout the game.”
In the game, the Titans finished with six shots on goal and CCD had seven.
“We knew how special No. 12 (Beach) was,” Hirschhauser said. “We knew that every time she touches the ball she is dangerous and when you play on a 75 yard field there is a lot of gaps and spacing, Our four backs just connected and we always play aggressive and we play aggressive and we play aggressive because we have her (Debra) in the net and the breakaway save she made coming out was huge.”
Despite the disappointing loss, Maag said this was a great season and reflected on the record-setting season that saw the Titans win a WBL title and make it to state for a second consecutive year.
“We had our sights set on finishing it,” Maag said. “I am proud of the girls and all that they have given to our team that they put forth here and not only tonight but for the last three or four months as we worked to get better. I felt they fought really hard all season. These girls have grinded since June into August into the regular season. I am disappointed with the results but can’t say enough great things about the girls.”