As reported in the Daily Local News:
Scoring is not supposed to be this hard. But add a superb effort from a goalkeeper along with some missed chances, and a goal can seem like a mountain that can’t be climbed.
The Unionville girls soccer team finally scaled that height in the second half against Octorara on Tuesday as Sammi Ortiz’s goal with a little over eight minutes left gave the Indians a 1-0 victory in the battle for second place in the Ches-Mont League American Division.
Unionville (6-4 division) celebrated senior night with its lone senior, Beth Dine, and then out-shot, out-chanced, and out-possessed the Braves, but could not dent the brick wall that was Kaitlin Fannon in the Octorara goal.
“She has done that all year,” Octorara coach Tibor Lehotay said of his senior keeper. “She keeps us in games and that’s what you want your keeper to do.”
However, for all the looks at goal the Indians had, the game was scorless for more than 50 minutes until the breakthrough finally came.
Caroline Miller’s through ball found Ortiz at the top of the penalty area. She turned to her right, took a couple of steps, and fired a low, hard shot that beat Fannon inside the right post with 8:45 left.
“Caroline played the ball through and I knew I had to score,” said Ortiz. “We needed the goal to bring our energy up and the goal brought our energy up. I knew I needed to score for Beth and for us and I just placed it in the corner.”
The Indians dominated play in the first half, out shooting the Braves, 12-1, and forcing Fannon into six stops. One of the best ones came when sophomore forward Quinn Benintende nodded the ball past defender Micheala Ragsdale to break in on goal, but her shot was gobbled up by a diving Fannon.
Unionville remained dangerous by playing over the top and letting their forwards get behind the defense.
Octorara tightened the defense in the second half and kept the game scoreless, but that almost changed a little than halfway through. A perfect through ball sent Miller behind the defense and alone in on goal. She rounded Fannon, but pushed the ball a little too wide, by the time she caught up with it, her hurried shot hit square off the post and off Miller for a goal kick,
“We get our chances, its like the gun that won’t shoot straight,” Ratasiewicz said. “It fires, it just doesn’t shoot straight. We’ve had the injury and constant turnover in the lineup, but when we get our chances we have to finish. Like tonight, we get chance after chance after chance, but couldn’t finish.
“The keeper was nice, she made some good saves. We need all the wins we can get and they’re a good, scrappy team.”
After goal, Octorara (5-5) didn’t pack it in. They kept fighting and almost delivered an immediate response. Amber Stirling intercepted a pass just outside the penalty area. Her shot was blocked, but the slick ball was bouncing around in the box until goalie Adrianna Weber dove on it to thwart the Braves’ best chance of the night.
“We don’t quit, we keep fighting,” said Lehotay. “I’m proud of my team. We played well, we just couldn’t get that last touch when we needed it.”
Fannon was credited with nine stops for the game as Unionville held a 20-3 advantage. Weber made just two stops for the Indians.
Unionville, fighting for a playoff spot in the District 1 Class AAA tournament, is now five points behind West Chester Rustin in the American with huge games to finish out the week. They host Downingtown East on Thursday before going on the road to face Conestoga on Saturday. The Braves, enjoying a renaissance this year under Lehotay, have division contests with Kennett and Oxford before facing Bishop Shanahan and Downingtown East.
Unionville 1, Octorara 0
Octorara 0 0–0
Unionville 0 1–1
Unionville goal: S. Ortiz.
Goalie saves: Fannon (O) 9; Weber (U) 2.
Unionville 3, Octorara 1: Goals by Ethan Fish, Sean Faux and Steven Daniels powered Unionville (3-6-1, 6-6-2) in the Ches-Mont match.
Jason Smiddy and Matt Stewart were defensive standouts for the Indians.
Octorara fell to 0-8-1 in the league.
Unionville 1 2 — 3
Octorara 0 1 — 1
Unionville goals: Fish, Faux, Daniels.
Octorara goal: Byerly.
Goalie saves: Tuvesson (U) 2; Jones (O) 6.
Avon Grove 3, Octorara 1: Avon Grove (7-4 league) won the Ches-Mont match 25-17, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22
Emily Maxwell had 16 kills, Miranda Kauffman 10 assists, and Lindsay Wilde 10 digs and 20 assists for the Braves (3-8, 6-8).
Tatnall (Del.) 3, Westtown 0: Meredith Hudson had two kills and five digs, but the Quakers dropped a 25-14, 25-10, 25-16 nonleague decision.