Ontario’s tournament run came to a close at the hands of a talented Rocky River program during Tuesday’s Division II regional semifinal girls soccer game at Cedar Point Stadium.
The Pirates (19-0-1), ranked No. 1 in the state and ranked nationally, shutout the Warriors (15-3-2), 7-0, dominating control of the field for almost the entire 80 minutes of play. Rocky River had 27 shots on goal to Ontario’s one, scoring its first goal just three minutes into the game by Jillian Krebs.
“I’m just very proud,” Ontario coach Larry Atkinson said. “They never gave up. They were down the entire game, and never really had many chances to score and put pressure on them, but they never gave up. They battled and the seniors kept them fired up, and kept pushing. We didn’t give up.”
Less than four minutes after the Pirates’s first goal, they struck again when Eva Schneider scored from close to the 20-yard line. By halftime, Rocky River had a 4-0 advantage. Sydney Hamker scored at the 9:49 mark, and McKenna Klodnick made a goal with 3:23 left before the half.
“It’s a very special group,” Rocky River coach Patrick Hopkins said. “It’s a group that plays together a lot and they just have a lot of fun. They anticipate each other well they work the ball well and they amaze me sometimes at how well they can do it. We have a lot of weapons on this team, and they work really hard and they’ve got high expectations and they are working for them.”
In the second half, Pirates senior forward Grace Bennett finished with a hat trick. Bennett scored back-to-back goals just 45 seconds apart to open the second half and give Rocky River a 6-0 lead, and scored goal No. 3 with 12:21 remaining.
Hopkins traveled to Ashland on Saturday to watch the district final game between Ontario and Clear Fork, and said his team didn’t take the Warriors lightly heading into Tuesday’s contest.
Warriors goalkeeper Katherine Beech finished with 11 saves and Meredith Remy had four saves. Ontario loses eight seniors in Remy, Alissa Tolliver, Katie Earhart, Jayde Niss, Mackenna Papst, Lindsey Virden, Emily Dinger and Chelsea Strohm.
“I know they are hurting right now,” Atkinson said. “You look at those seniors, and in four years what they have accomplished: Final Four, a state runner-up and four district championships. How many other teams can say that their team has four district championships? Not many. None of them can say the Final Four in our area, and one can say state runner-up, so that is what we try to tell them is just the positives.”