CHILLICOTHE – In true dominant fashion, Unioto’s girls soccer team took one step closer to winning its first sectional title since 2011, Tuesday evening.
The No. 3 seeded Shermans took down Miami Trace by a final of 6-0 in a Division II Sectional Semifinal and out-shot the Panthers 27-0 while doing so.
“We’ve been working hard on offense in practice and getting shots on goal,” Unioto coach Kendra Dalton. “And composure, composure, composure. We’ve stressed that so many times. It’s starting to pay off and hopefully, we can continue to get the crosses from the outside in. We did that repeatedly tonight.”
As impressive as the Shermans’ offense was, the defense was just as good or better.
“We did a nice job from the forwards all the way back tonight,” Unioto coach Cara Rathkamp said. “We were touch tight as well all over the field so our one-on-one defending was great. We won the balls and didn’t let them bounce and, most importantly, we possessed the ball. We had great distribution out of the back and we hit feet.”
Leading that defensive charge was junior Montana Myers and Savannah Vanhoose.
“Montana is a very versatile player,” Rathkamp said. “We can play her as a center mid, as a center back or wherever we need her. And even though Savannah might not have touched the ball a lot tonight, she was vocal (in the goalie box) and she was a leader back there.”
Unioto (12-4-1) took the lead with 25:10 remaining in the first half off a goal from freshman Jayla Campbell, who was just getting started.
At the 23:45 mark, Campbell scored again as she regained possession after a deflected shot and eased it in with a diving goalie on the ground, making it 2-0.
Less than five minutes later, sophomore Maddie Gumm joined the festivities with a goal off a cross pass from freshman Stephanie Kane, pushing the Tanks’ lead to 3-0.
Sophomore Cadee Causey then scored with 8:23 left off an assist from Payge Arledge, extending the lead to 4-0 — where it would stand at halftime.
“These are girls that we wanted to step up and who we wanted to have a good tournament run,” Dalton said. “Today, they showed up and they did a great job. These are girls that come to practice and work hard. That’s why it’s so great to see.”
After the break, more of the same took place.
Campbell pulled off the hat trick with a goal at the 18:23 mark in the second half, making it 5-0, before Arledge lit up the scoreboard with a goal at 14:59 to seal the final count.
“I think the most important thing for us is that we do have depth on this team,” Rathkamp said. “We have players who can come off the bench. We executed tonight and this is the time to do that, in tournament play. We had composure in front of the net, we defended well over the field and we possessed the ball and if we continue to do that, we’re going to have a great run.”
Standing in their way of that possible run would be the top-seeded Circleville Tigers, who defeated McClain to advance, 7-0.
The Tigers will come into the match-up with an overall record of 11-2-2 with losses coming to Bloom-Carroll and Grandview Heights.
“(Circleville) is going to be intense,” Rathkamp said. “They are touch tight all over the field. They’re a good team. We’re going to have to the things that we’ve practiced all year long. If we can continue to do the things we’ve worked on, we’re going to show up and have a great game. But we’re excited. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”