DELTA – Swanton girls soccer put to rest any hopes of Delta spoiling their chances of clinching the NWOAL title outright on Saturday, opening up a 4-0 lead at halftime and adding another after the break for a 5-0 shutout win.
The victory secured the Bulldogs their first NWOAL soccer title, as they finished with a 5-0 mark in league play.
“We came in (and) we wanted it a lot more,” said Swanton coach Jim Dickman after the game. “That was the pregame talk all this week.”
“We had hoped to play better than we did,” commented Delta coach John Kern. “We have been pretty banged up with injuries and playing without subs, down a few starters is tough. We made some basic mistakes that cost us goals against. Swanton showed up to play, and we have to give them credit for that.”
Just 27 seconds into the contest, Swanton freshman Bridgett Harlett produced an early run from the right side, finding senior Shae Hallowell for the goal to make it 1-0.
Exactly five minutes later, Jordan Furko’s corner-kick found Haley Nelson who headed the ball in for a 2-0 Swanton advantage.
Both teams fought the rainy and windy weather all day, with a shot from Delta’s Havanna Gracia sailing high because of it at the 30:51 mark. Not even a minute later, with 30:02 remaining, Harlett rushed hard from the right, scoring past the Panther goalkeeper as she came out to defend.
“She was a big player today,” said Dickman of Harlett, who had a goal and two assists on the afternoon. “She knows that’s how we want her to step up while she’s playing varsity. We always joke with her this isn’t U14 anymore. But she’s doing a great job.”
Swanton’s Taylor Pelland showed great effort on the game’s fourth goal. When battling with Kaylin Twigg of Delta to the right of the net, she turned and fired toward the goal past the outstretched finger tips of the Panther keeper, making it 4-0 with 26:55 to go in the half.
While Harlett had a nice game, seniors Hallowell and Pelland, along with others, also had an impact.
“They led the team,” said Dickman of his seniors. “They did a great job today. We went right after them.”
In the final 20 minutes Hallowell nearly scored a couple more goals, but the Panther defense kept her attempts out of the net.
With 32:25 left in the second half, Harlett slid a ball over to Pelland on the right side of the net who hammered it home to equal the game’s final tally.
Delta kept the ball in Swanton territory for most of the half after Pelland’s score, however, they could not cash in. Morgan Mattimore put a shot on net at the 24:15 mark that went just left of the net.
Then, with 13:03 left, Delta’s Madi Nadolny tried to get a shot over the head of the Swanton keeper but Amber Torres made the save.
Dogs shut out Wauseon Tuesday
Last Tuesday, the Bulldogs put themselves in position to win the league title with a 5-1 over Wauseon in front of their home crowd.
A turning point in the contest came in the first half after Wauseon had trimmed the Swanton lead in half, 2-1. The Indian goal came with 6:51 left until the break when Torri Bost got her foot to a ball, still in the air, and fired it over the head of Swanton goalkeeper Torres.
“I don’t know how she does it,” said Wauseon coach Jordanne Buehrer of the play. “She is always in the right place at the right time. She is a great athlete and she always works hard.”
However, Swanton showed off its experience by answering with a goal from Kirsten Truckor at the 4:26 mark to push their lead to 3-1. Then, with still 1:50 on the clock, Harlett got a touch on a pass from Hallowell and put it in the net to extend the Bulldog advantage to three.
“It was the seniors,” said Swanton mentor Jim Dickman of his team’s response. “They put a lot of pressure on. Taylor Pelland, Shae Hallowell, and Jordan (Furko) kept coming up from the back. It was really good.”
Avery Giguere had a couple of quality attempts for the Indians in the second half. With only 1:44 into half number two, she got a corner-kick and put it right on Torres who leaped up and made the save. Also, with 15:30 to go, Giguere got to a ball near midfield and sent it toward the net. However, Torres was there again to deny the attempt.
The Bulldogs then added a goal with 58 seconds remaining to put a bow on the victory.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010