Kalida senior Summer Holtkamp draws a lot of attention from Swanton Tuesday night in their Division III regional semifinal on the turf of Ottawa Hills High School. The LadyCats posted a 4-0 shutout to advance to Saturday’s 3 p.m. finals versus the Ontario/Doylestown Chippewa winner at a site TBD.
OTTAWA HILLS — The Kalida’s girls soccer team came out a little flat as they squared off against Swanton in a Division III regional semifinal contest at Ottawa Hills High School Tuesday night.
The early jitters didn’t last long.
Once the LadyCats fired off a couple of shots, they dominated the Bulldogs in posting a 4-0 win at Norm Niedermeier Field.
The win sends Kalida (19-0-1) to the Division III regional finals Saturday afternoon against either Doylestown Chippewa or Ontario at a site to be determined. The Chippewa-Ontario contest was postponed Tuesday and will be played Thursday.
Swanton (11-8-1) came out the aggressor as they were able to keep the ball on the Kalida defensive side of the field. Once the LadyCats were able to get a couple of runs on the Bulldog goal, it helped them relax and play their game.
“The first couple of minutes, we were a little flat,” Kalida coach David Kehres said. “Swanton had the possession of the ball and we were like ‘come on girls; let’s get it together.’ It took us about 10 minutes and once we got that first goal, everyone was fired up.”
Kalida’s first two goals came after Swanton goalie Jenna Carr was unable to handle shots on goal by Kalida.
Senior Summer Holtkamp scored the LadyCats’ first goal as she was there to pick up a rebound that Carr could not handle with 19:59 left in the half. Fellow senior Skylar Basinger chased down a long pass and went at the Bulldog goalie as she fired a shot that Carr knocked down and had roll to her right, where Holtkamp got a foot on the ball and pushed it into an open net.
Just over seven minutes later, Kalida took advantage of another loose ball to go up 2-0. Sophomore Jackie Gardner got a run at the Swanton goal and fired a shot that Carr once again knocked down. Freshman Brittany Kahle was there to pick up the loose ball and put it in the net with 12:23 left in the half.
“We always tell the girls they need to say ‘hi’ to the goalie, follow up the shot when someone takes a shot because you never know if they are going to bobble it,” Kehres said. “We told them that again tonight because of the ground being wet, the ball was going to be slippery; it might skip; we told them to follow that shot up. That’s how we got our first two goals because we followed it up; that’s what we practice. The plan worked to perfection.”
Although the Wildcats had a 2-0 halftime lead, Kehres knew they needed another goal or two as no lead is safe in the tournament.
“I have a lot of confidence in my defense,” Kehres continued. “But you never know how things are going to work out in the second half. You don’t know what kind of weather to expect the second half, (like) if the wind is going to pick up and play a factor. The defense came ready to play tonight and we played stellar. I’m proud of these girls; this is a great win for these girls.”
Gardner scored a pair of second-half goals as Carr, once again, had trouble handling the wet ball.
After Gardner sent an early shot wide, she got two shots into the back of the net.
With 31:12 left to play, Gardner lined up to take a direct kick after a foul was called on a Swanton player at the 21-yard line. Gardner lined a high shot on goal that Carr attempted to make a leaping save on, only to have it go off her hands and into the net for a 3-0 lead.
Gardner’s second goal came with 28:48 left after she fired a shot from the left side of the goal that snuck past Carr and rolled along the goal mouth before rolling into the net.
Kalida had a 12-7 edge in shots on-goal as Sarah Verhoff made four saves in the win, which was the LadyCats’ fourth shutout of the tournament. Carr had five saves for the Bulldogs.