For the second straight Division III district soccer game the weather was to no one’s liking as driving rain and 25 mile per hour winds scoured Evergreen’s Pifer Field.
And, for the second straight game, Archbold’s Leah McQuade was a late-match hero as her goal with 8:29 left in the contest gave the Blue Streaks a 1-0 win over Swanton to advance to the regional at Defiance this week.
“It was just textbook soccer,” Archbold assistant coach Jen Kidder said. “That pass from Regan (Ramirez) and then the shot Leah took was just phenomenal.
“You could see it building up in the second half especially that the passes and the runs were coming and when they connected it was just beautiful the way that Leah finished that shot.”
For almost 72 minutes, scoring chances were few and shots were minimal as the teams combined for just 17 shots on goal for the game.
McQuade had a chance when a wind-blown ball bounced over the head of Bulldog goalie Frankie Nelson, but her header missed in the 29th minute of the first half.
A minute later, Swanton’s Aricka Lutz had a shot at a loose ball, but goalie Regan Kohler beat her to it and cleared to keep the game scoreless.
McQuade and Lutz each had another chance – each in the first half – but both times Nelson, then Kohler made good saves for a 0-0 halftime tie.
Lutz had one more chance with 24 minutes left on a free kick from 18 yards out on the right side, but Kohler punched it away to keep the shutout going.
Finally with just under nine to go, Ramirez got an opening in the middle of the field, passing to McQuade coming down the left side. McQuade punched a shot high over Nelson into the right side of the goal to put the Blue Streaks in front in the lousy weather conditions.
Nelson made six saves for the Bulldogs while Kohler had four.
Archbold plays Spencerville at Defiance Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the regional semifinal.
Dogs defeated O-G in district semi, 3-2
To the satisfaction of those rooting for Swanton and any neutral fan in attendance, Swanton avoided a penalty kick shootout when freshman Alaina Pelland notched the game-winning goal at the 6:41 mark of second overtime, sending the Bulldogs to the Division III district final with a 3-2 double overtime win over Ottawa-Glandorf in girls soccer Tuesday, Oct. 22 at Evergreen.
On a ball played upfield, Pelland just beat O-G goalkeeper Ashton Okuley to the ball and her shot skipped into the back of the net for the Bulldog victory.
“I don’t know how we got that goal,” said Swanton coach Jim Dickman after the game. He said he was just “glad” that it didn’t go to penalty kicks, which would obviously leave it more to chance.
The action really began after halftime when the Bulldogs – now with the wind at their back – went ahead 2-0.
Aricka Lutz banged one home at the 33:38 mark of the half as Swanton went up 1-0. Just over two minutes later, Averie Lutz booted a free kick from 30 yards out that took a funny hop on Okuley to give the Dogs a two-goal advantage.
However, the Titans would respond to tie it.
With 31:08 remaining in regulation, Kelsey Erford put one in to cut the Swanton lead in half. Then with 17:27 left, Lauren Siefker scored with help of a crossing pass from Clara Beach, knotting the score at 2-2.
Swanton had some decent chances in first overtime, coming up just short.
Aricka Lutz drilled one from the right side of the net at the 13:09 mark, however, Okuley made the save. She then snagged one off the foot of the Dogs’ Gaby Bowers from inside 20 yards with 6:58 left.
Despite surrendering the two goals, Bulldog keeper Frankie Nelson was stellar down the stretch to help her team get the win.
“She made some great saves. Especially on those corners (corner kicks),” said Dickman of Nelson.
The Dogs outshot O-G 19-15 on the night.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org