Swanton remained unblemished in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League Thursday, using a pair of second half goals scored by Averie Lutz to turn in a 2-0 win at home over Delta in girls soccer.
“We did amazing tonight. Everything we’ve been practicing showed,” said Swanton head coach Kendra Gustafson. “Yeah, we didn’t get as many goals as we would have liked. We had a lot on frame but they had a really good keeper too — she’s good. Like I told the girls, I don’t care how many goals we (score) we came out with the win. And we had possession and control of the whole entire game. The second half, they only got to go on our end, I think it was two times. It’s nice to see everything we have been working really hard for is finally coming out on the field.”
Despite the Bulldogs finishing strong, it was the Panthers who got off to a good start.
They put pressure on the Swanton defense in the early minutes, with Annabelle Hughes even connecting on a shot on goal at the 36:42 mark that was gobbled up by Bulldog goalkeeper Frankie Nelson.
“I think people underestimate us a lot because of our past records and past years. But we’re really an improved team this year. With numbers and the ability of our players,” explained Delta coach Paige Triana. “So I think people definitely underestimate us and they come out maybe flat which is to our advantage. So I think that was what was happening in the beginning..and the girls just came out ready to play today.”
Swanton’s Alaina Pelland mustered a pair of quality shots in the first 20 minutes — the latter a header on an airborne ball with 23:32 left in the first half but it missed to the left of the net.
With just under 20 minutes remaining, Delta’s Sam Maurer redirected a Grace Munger corner kick that nearly caught Nelson offguard, but the veteran keeper managed to save it.
The Dogs had multiple shots but couldn’t quite connect in the final three minutes of the half. However, they were finally able to dent the scoreboard after halftime.
They created a breakaway chance at the 27:23 mark of half number two. Following a Delta corner kick the Dogs went on the offensive, finally converting on Averie Lutz’ boot for the 1-0 lead.
“That’s what soccer is, it’s a lot of back and forth, back and forth type of thing. But they had a nice breakaway, and did a nice job finishing,” said Triana on her team’s corner kick leading to a Swanton goal.
Gustafson was simply relieved for that first goal, and thought it allowed her team to relax.
“I always think with the first goal, it just gets those pregame jitters out and we just got to get it in there as soon as possible,” she said. “Would I have liked it sooner, yes, but they didn’t stop. They kept going and that’s all I wanted out of them. I just want a full 80 minutes.”
The margin remained the same until late.
With 4:15 to go, Swanton’s Jayden Hendricks got ahold of one that pushed Panther keeper Courtny Helton back into the goal, but she kept it out of the net.
Helton’s saves were a theme of the night.
“Courtny, she’s a senior right, so she definitely has some experience behind her. And continues to show off that she has that experience and has the ability,” said Triana of her keeper.
However, Averie Lutz was able to squeak one by Helton from the left side with just under two minutes to play, resulting in the final score.
The Dogs were then in action at Lake Saturday, falling to the Flyers 3-0.
Swanton (2-0-1 NWOAL) next has a league match Thursday, Oct. 1 when they welcome Wauseon (0-1 NWOAL). Delta (1-2 NWOAL) hosts Archbold (2-1 NWOAL) today at 5 p.m.