OAK HARBOR — During a lull in the action Monday, Oak Harbor forward Makayla Carpenter asked Amanda Hetrick if Hetrick was the midfielder on her side of the field.
Carpenter was enthusiastic when the answer was yes, and a few moments later the two combined to set up a goal from Addie Barton in a 6-1 victory over Port Clinton to open play in the Sandusky Bay Conference.
“Me and Amanda have played together since her freshman year,” Carpenter said. “We played Arsenal together. She’s someone I really trust and I knew we would work well together, and she’d get done what needed to be done.”
Carpenter had possession of the ball and waited for Hetrick to join the play before dropping her a pass. Hetrick then sent a ball ahead of Carpenter on the ground in open space and Carpenter got to it with time to make a play.
Carpenter crossed the ball to Barton, who knocked it in for a 5-0 advantage midway through the second half.
Amber Burnette scored three of the first four goals, including two on rebounds of her own shots.
“You never know when the ball will just come right at you and you never know when you can get a shot from any angle,” Burnette said of not giving up on a play. “Never quit.”
The Rockets (1-1) largely controlled play and had a lopsided advantage in scoring plays.
“We’re really good at working together,” Burnette said. “We talk and use the whole field. We use triangles, we get to the ball and we work as a team.”
Carpenter, who answers to ‘Skeeter,’ waited until she was close to the goaltender on a one-on-one opportunity and slid a shot low and just inside the post for Oak Harbor’s final tally.
“When I was little for Arsenal in the fourth or fifth grade (my coach) said I was small and fast like a mosquito and it stuck,” Carpenter said. “Everybody calls me that now.”
Paige Velliquette scored the first goal early in the game.
Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Ashley was tested often and did everything she could to keep Port Clinton in the game. Ashley is new to the net and has been working with Jose Romero, the father of Redskins coach Paco Romero.
Romero said Ashley is better than she thinks she is and needs to believe in herself.
“Emily took a lot of shots and was awesome for a rookie,” Romero said. “(Defender) Rachel Nehls was part of that. (Ashley) just learned to dive. (Monday) was a wake-up call that she’s actually good. She’s a fast learner.”
Ashley, who demonstrated good reflexes, stopped Carpenter one-on-one in the first half and made three difficult saves in a five-minute span of the second half. She also slid out to stop Barton midway through the second half.
Oak Harbor, which has never lost a game in the SBC in five years, is using mixed parts to replace outside midfielder Kelsey Lacer, who broke her ankle in the team’s first game this season.
Freshman Tessa Tyburski was an outside midfielder, sophomore Karis DeWalt was on the left side on defense, freshman Gillian Allen was an outside midfielder and junior Michaela Goldstein was at sweeper Monday. Junior Hannah Hess helped at stopper.
“(They) stepped up after injuries,” Rockets coach Renee Goldstein said. “(Tyburski) is an excellent communicator. Usually freshmen are quiet and timid.
“I have the freedom to move the girls. It’s so nice.”
Port Clinton finished second to Oak Harbor in the SBC last season and should not be overlooked based on one setback.
“They’ll be right back,” Coach Goldstein said. “I’m excited about all (my) girls. I’m pushing them because they have talent and they’re happy to ramp up practice.”
The two teams played a physical brand of soccer Monday, contesting nearly every ball. A few Redskins even showed significant moxie shrugging off jarring hits to the head on shots.
“They all do,” Romero said. “They come out tackling and do what I ask at practice. They just started slow. They’re all new to their positions basically and we’re young.”
Ivy Martin allowed only one goal as Abbi Pitts — Port Clinton’s most accomplished scorer — sprinted to sneak just behind three defenders and deflected her own scoring chance into the net as Martin made the initial save with 1 minute, 30 seconds to play.