PORT CLINTON – A great tournament run, a banner season and four highly accomplished careers came to an end on Tuesday night on Port Clinton’s Bassett Field as the Swanton Lady Bulldogs dropped a 3-0 decision to the Doylestown Chippewa Chipps in a Division III regional semifinal girls soccer game.
It was a contest that saw the Lady Dogs battle an extremely fast and highly skilled Chipps team to a 0-0 draw in the first half but was unable to maintain the pace after the break, allowing three second half goals to bow out of the tournament.
As soon as the game began, Chippewa, which entered the contest sporting an 18-1-1 record, took control with a quick and intricate passing attack that moved the ball towards the Swanton goal almost at will. Goalie Amber Torres, as she had all season, made several big saves and kept the Chipps off the scoreboard.
It took the Dogs about 10 minutes to adjust to the speed and talent level of their opponents and begin to fight back. From that point it became an evenly played affair with both teams missing several scoring opportunities. Swanton’s best chance to score came around the 7:30 mark of the first half when Shae Hallowell broke free with the ball in front of the Chippewa goal and fired a shot just to the left of the net.
In the second half, however, the Chipps regained control and never let go. They spread the Bulldog defense out with wide spacing and precision passing and finally scored when Jill Jones took a pass from Nadya Boualany about 10 yards out and drove one past Torres for a 1-0 lead just six minutes in.
Three minutes later, Naya Boualany put the Chipps up 2-0 and Swanton was never truly able to recover. “They were pretty tough offensively,” commented Bulldog coach Jim Dickman after the game. “We just didn’t play like we’ve been playing. We’ve had a lot better games than that.”
But amid the post-game tears, consoling hugs and overall melancholy, this Swanton team left the field knowing it was one of the most accomplished in the history of the program with an unprecedented three titles to its credit. “It was a great season. We had some great quality wins,” said Dickman. The girls did a great job but tonight it just didn’t work out that way.”
The Lady Dogs finished the season with a 16-4 record that included victories over NBC Champion Woodmore, NWOAL runner-up Archbold and fellow regional tournament participant Kalida.
The loss also bring to a close the high school careers of four seniors, Jordan Furko, Shae Hallowell, Erica Keller and Taylor Pelland, all major contributors to a four year span that included one league title, three sectional championships and two district championships.
Despite the departure of all that talent, do not expect this program to backslide. With a returning roster of ten sophomores and six freshmen, and the 2015 Coach of the Year at the helm, look for this team to return next year for an encore.
Bill O’Connell can be reached at email@example.com