CONVOY — Both Jefferson and Crestview have girls soccer teams have had struggles with a lack of numbers this fall.
The two Northwest Conference foes met up Thursday night at Crestview High School and the visiting Wildcats pitched a shutout, beating the Lady Knights 3-0.
The Lady Wildcats (4-8-0, 2-2-0 NWC) dominated the shooting 26-11, 24-7 on-goal.
Senior Crestview (2-7-2, 1-3-0 NWC) keeper Darcci Swager nabbed 17 saves versus five for Lady Wildcat senior Paige Miller.
“This was our best match by far this year; it was our most complete match. We were passing and shooting well because we were looking up when we did it,” Jefferson coach Josiah Stober noted. “We moved the ball from side to side as well as we have all year. These are the things we’ve been working on all season and you can see the improvement today.”
Crestview coach Melissa Mefferd sees a team that has run out of gas this week.
“We only had 16 girls to begin with and we have had some injuries and sickness this week. We’re worn down right this week,” Mefferd began. “We didn’t have a lot of energy today; we didn’t have it today. These girls have played a lot minutes over the season and it’s taken a toll.”
With the wind in the first half, the Wildcats took advantage in pressing their attack forward. They dominated most of the proceedings in the offensive end and had numerous chances to get on the board.
Their best chances came at 37:50 when sophomore Bailey Miller got control of a corner kick and had a 10-yarder that Crestview junior Courtney Grote prevented from crossing the goal line; at 18:42, when sophomore Kylee Haehn had a great chance from 10 yards but Swager deflected and finally controlled; at 7:27, when sophomore Elisabeth Miller fired from just outside the 18-yard box on the right side deflected away by the keeper; and 4:40, when Swager again denied a free kick by senior Jenna Moreo.
The hosts had a couple of openings: at 30:05, when freshman Alyssa Walter was just over the top from 15 yards; and 21:31, when Grote forced a diving stop by Paige Miller from 10 yards.
The second half saw the Lady Knights have the wind but the Lady Wildcats took control.
Crestview had an early attempt at 37:59 when senior Clare Mefferd was denied from 16 yards.
It didn’t take long for the Red and White to get on the board — 36:46 — off a sequence in front of the goal. Liz Miller got control — off a corner kick from the left side — on the right post and her 8-yard shot deflected off a defender and into the goal for a 1-0 edge.
Both teams had opportunities to score but the goalkeepers were up to the task.
That is until 16:38. Off a cross from Liz Miller from the right side, Haehn was wide open in the middle as Swager couldn’t come out and grab the orb; Miller’s 8-yarder found the left side of the twine for a 2-0 edge.
The Lady Wildcats made it 3-0 shortly after that — at 10:29. Off another cross from the right side by Liz Miller to the middle, freshman Logan Hamilton was also wide open in the middle and her 8-yarder found the left side of the cords.
Neither team could dent the scoreboard the rest of the way as the keepers were up to the task.
“We controlled the ball most of the match; we were playing very well as a team and we actually weren’t very tired because we had the ball at our feet,” Stober added. “We have struggled with numbers this year and we’re down to 14 but the girls have done a lot of work conditioning-wise and we wore them down. I am very proud of how much we have improved this season and the effort we have played with all season.”
Jefferson hosts Bluffton 5 p.m. Thursday.
“We didn’t get much going today,” Mefferd added. “We played as hard as we could but we’re just worn down; that was just so evident today. Hopefully, we can get some more pep as we get prepared for Van Wert Saturday.”
That match is at home at 11 a.m.