In an athletic contest, often one big play can get the eventual winning team on the right track. Although it took over 15 minutes for Swanton to score its first goal, that seemed to spark a domino effect as they exploded for a 6-0 shutout of visiting Miller City Thursday in a Division III girls soccer sectional final.
The key was possessing the ball and making good passes, both of which the Bulldogs did well all game long.
“We’ve been working on that for about the last two months. And, the girls want to win. It’s about who wants to win at this point in the season. They played very, very well. They did everything we’ve been telling them to do for two months,” said head coach Jim Dickman.
Swanton kept the ball on the Wildcats’ side of the field for most of the game and in the first 15 minutes they had an abundance of chances.
However, they did not score until Alaina Pelland headed in a ball that evaded Wildcat goalkeeper Natalie Koenig who was coming out to contest, putting the Dogs up 1-0 at the 24:17 mark of the first half.
Averie Lutz scored her first of two goals on the day with 19:09 left in the half. With the Dogs providing constant pressure, she booted one into the back of the net from about 10 yards out.
Swanton then upped their lead to 3-0 thanks to a pass from Caroline Vargas to Megan Haselman with 3:21 remaining.
In the second half it was more of the same from the Dogs.
After nearly finding the net on a boot from 15 yards out earlier in the half, Vargas cleaned up a shot from Aricka Lutz that nearly scored, extending the Bulldog lead to 4-0 at the 26:38 mark.
Averie Lutz made it 5-0 with a 20-yard kick which sailed over Koenig’s head with 22:53 remaining. Then Aricka got into the action from a scoring standpoint, knocking one in just over four minutes later for the game’s final tally.
The Dogs had goals from five different players in the contest.
“They (Miller City) packed it in in the middle so we had to go to the outside. So that creates opportunities for everybody else,” said Dickman of his team spreading the ball around. “When Aricka and Averie can control the middle, they are gonna get the most goals. But when they can’t control the middle, they got to go to the outside, that spreads goals around.”
Swanton now moves on to face sixth-seed Ottawa-Glandorf in a district semifinal at Evergreen Tuesday at 5 p.m. The Titans upset second-seed Liberty Center on Thursday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010