DELPHOS — The Sidney Lehman girls soccer team only has only two seniors on a 10-1-0 team that has beaten the likes of Celina in 2012.
They were still too much to handle for the St. John’s Lady Blue Jays — who last played Sept. 24 — on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon/evening at the Annex, shutting out the hosts 6-0.
The guests dominated the shots on-goal 25-5. Sophomore keeper Samantha Wehri garnered 15 saves for the Jays (3-10-1) while Grace Frantz registered three saves for the Lady Cavaliers.
“That is a very skilled team, especially with the ball at their feet. They might be the best team we’ve faced this year,” Jays coach John Munoz began. “They execute all the right things: ball possession, passing, moving the ball side to side. The pressure they put on you forced us to panic a little bit at times and get rid of the ball too quickly. You could tell we were a little rusty at the start because we’d been off so long; we did get all but one girl back from injury, which was big. We did get the chance to work on some things as well but we needed to give them a break, too. We had a lot of matches in August and September.”
The Jays battled the Cavaliers on even terms in the early going, only giving up a shot on-goal by Jenna Kronenberger at 39:20.
The Jays had their only real chance in the first half at 37:24 when junior Lyndsay Mohler’s attempt in the 18-yard box was deflected out of bounds by a defender.
Eventually, the ball skills of the Cavaliers began to take control of the matchup; as the first half entered into its second part, they attacked the goal with more pressure.
Wehri and her defenders were up to the task mostly but not forever.
At the 21:16 mark, the visitors got on the board. Lauren Goettemoeller let fly with a long shot from the right post that forced Wehri to dive to her right to make the stop; however, she couldn’t come up with possession and the orb bounced far enough away that she could not get there before senior Sarah Titterington put back the ricochet from six yards and a 1-0 edge.
At the 18:10 mark, Taylor Lachey got on a great run down the left side and near the end line, crossed to the near post, when Titterington was there; her 10-yarder got inside that post for a 2-0 edge.
That margin became 3-0 at 5:31 when Lachey and did the exact same thing as before, only this time finding Elizabeth Edwards on the left post; her 14-yarder found the twine.
“We don’t have many seniors but we have nine juniors and two juniors that play a lot, plus 10 freshman; we have some quality depth,” Lehman coach Tony Schroeder noted. “We weren’t as patient with our ball possession the first half as we usually are; our game is built on that, moving the ball around and exploiting the defense. We did more of that the second half and I preferred that a lot more.”
It didn’t take long for the Cavaliers to make it 4-0 — 1:43 into the second half. This time, it was Titterington finding Lachey on a cross from the right side to the middle, with the junior putting in the orb from close range.
Just under three minutes later — at 35:18 — Titterington made it a hat trick. Courtesy of a midfield through ball from Edwards, the senior got on a run down the middle for a 1-on-1 with Wehri; she fired from 14 yards and found the left side of the cords for a 5-0 edge.
At 16:32, it almost became 6-0 as Alexis Grise — off a corner kick from the right side — hit the near post from close in.
It did become 6-0 at 9:34. Karly Baird got on a run down the right side and as she veered toward the goal, shot toward the left side; the orb hit the post but Olivia Selhorst was right there for the putback before Wehri and the defense could recover.
The Jays had started to get some better looks before that: at 14:15, senior Alyssa Gable tried one from just beyond the outside left corner of the 18 but Frantz got the stop.
They had two more solid chances: at 4:32 and 4:07; when senior Jessica Recker tried a 16-yarder from the right wing and a 12-yarder from the right post but both were grabbed by the Cavalier netminder.
“We played much better the second half. We are making progress but with our schedule this year, it doesn’t always look like it,” Munoz added. “We had better sequences in our passing game and that helped us get some nicer looks at the goal. We were just unlucky that two of them were right there that we just missed. We did have some breakdowns on defense, especially the first half, and we were a bit unlucky on the bounces.”
Lehman hosts Springfield Catholic Central Saturday, while St. John’s visits Ottoville at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.