Swanton, in its first game back after over two weeks off dealing with some COVID-19 issues on the team, came straight out of quarantine to earn a 5-0 win over Otsego in a Division III girls soccer sectional semifinal Wednesday.
The contest, originally scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 20, was pushed back to Wednesday to make sure everything was good to go from a health perspective.
“When we started we were a little bit slow motion. So I was a little bit nervous,” said Swanton coach Kendra Gustafson. “The girls (and I), we have a group chat and they’re sending (messages) everyday they are running two miles, a mile and a half. Doing their own ball work at home. They were preparing the most that they could while being quarantined. We were a little nervous that it was just coming straight off of quarantine to a game. No practice, nothing. We are blessed and thankful for Otsego to give us this opportunity. Because, if they wouldn’t have agreed to change the date, we would have had to forfeit.”
The Bulldogs did fall 6-2 at Ottawa-Glandorf in Thursday’s sectional final, ending their season.
Against Otsego, Swanton scored first with just over 24 minutes left in the first half on a Aricka Lutz penalty kick.
They next scored on a perfect left-to-right crossing pass from Jayden Hendricks to Aricka Lutz, extending the Bulldog lead at 2-0 with 16:19 left in the half.
Aricka would finish with four goals by the end of the day.
“Everyone was working bringing the ball from defense to our mids (midfielders). Aricka just had it tonight. I’m hoping that it was just coming straight off of quarantine she was ready to go,” explained Gustafson of her senior’s performance.
She centered the ball herself and fired a ball into the back of the net just past the 30-minute mark of the second half, putting the difference at three goals. Aricka Lutz added another with 16:45 remaining for a 4-0 lead.
Aricka would also have a hand in the Dogs’ final goal — albeit from an assist standpoint. On a corner kick, she got it to twin sister Averie in front of the net who headed it in with 15:14 left.
Swanton closed the book on the Northwest Ohio Athletic League season last week as they could not reschedule league games with Evergreen and Wauseon.
The Dogs end up tying Archbold for the league championship, despite beating the Blue Streaks in the regular season. Archbold finishes at 5-1 in the league and Swanton 3-0-1. They each earned .833 of their possible points, with three earned for a win and one for a tie.
“Obviously we would have liked to play Wauseon and Evergreen,” said Gustafson. “In a ways, it stinks because Wauseon we could have got out of the way. But they also had a COVID issue too. It’s out of our hands, but we did the work we needed to to make sure that we were up top and keep our position there.
“We were lucky enough to play that fourth game to be able to place. Because if we wouldn’t have played against Bryan (Oct. 6) we wouldn’t have placed at all. So we got our fourth game in and we held our position to stay in first. And, we were lucky enough to tie first place with Archbold.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010