WADSWORTH – The match turned in the span of 27 seconds.
Tied at 2-2, Parma Heights Holy Name looked like it took the lead off a goal on a set piece, but was ruled offsides. Seconds later, Ontario was running the length of the field toward its goal. Just outside the box, Holy Name fouled just outside the box, setting up a free kick for the Warriors.
Junior Brittany McCauley sent it in for a 3-2 lead that would last. Ontario won the Division II regional semifinal at Wadsworth’s Art Wright Stadium and advances to the regional championship Saturday at 3 p.m. at a site to be determined. Celina was a 2-1 winner over Oak Harbor in Findlay on Tuesday.
“It feels amazing, but the best feeling is doing it for my seniors. I didn’t want it to end, and I didn’t want it to be their last game. I want to go to state,” McCauley said. “I just knew I had to do it for my team.”
Ontario coach Larry Atkinson said he was thankful the linesman saw the offsides call that set off the frantic series of events.
“We had a wall and unfortunately they can’t hear me tell them we don’t need a wall when somebody’s kicking from 50 yards,” he said.
At the other end, he had confidence in McCauley.
“Brittany is more of a finesse-type striker of the ball. She’s seen the opening on this near post. It’s a great shot. We work on that a lot,” Atkinson said.
McCauley said it’s a ball she’s practiced often.
“I went near post and it had a nice little curve over the wall,” she said.
It was a lot to take in for Holy Name coach Emily Yaya.
“I will compliment that foul in every game and every situation,” Yaya said. “That’s the right foul. She gets there before the box; she’s in a goal scoring opportunity; that’s the right foul. I would tell anyone to do that at any time. It’s unfortunate it happened in transition from an unfortunate call. Obviously it stings a little more. We needed to step up in the second half. We told them.”
Sixth-ranked Ontario (18-2) scored the first goal of the match with 20:09 when Alexis Bise knocked one in from in front of the net. But five minutes later unranked Holy Name (10-8-1) evened it on a Julia Dreher goal. With 13:20 left in the half, Ontario keeper Katherine Beech laid out for a save, but with 7:58 left Madison Alberty’s breakaway gave the Green Wave a 2-1 lead.
The Warriors tied it with 24:31 left in regulation on another McCauley goal.
“This is a win and we didn’t give up,” Ontario coach Larry Atkinson said.”We were down 2-1 and didn’t give up. We came up with a lot of fire in the second half and played our hearts out.”
Ontario beat Celina 2-1 in the regular season.
“Right now we just take them one at a time and tell them to get ready to play them,” Atkinson said. “After winning tonight, I think we’ll be ready for them.”
McCauley said, “I think right now our focus is Celina on Saturday, and we’re just ready to bring it.”