ASHLAND – With few real chances available, Bria Meisse knew she had to make the most of her opportunity.
“I was just going down the field and I saw my two teammates just play off each other, and I was like, ‘OK, this is now or never. I’ve got to make my run,’” the Ontario freshman forward said. “I started to make my run and I saw the defender start to go out wide and I was like, ‘I’ve got to make this cut.’ When I did, I saw an open goal and it’s now or never and we’ve got to win this, so I took a shot and hoped it went in and it did.”
Her goal with 6:27 left in the first half would be the only one scored Saturday afternoon at Ashland High School, as Ontario held off rival Clear Fork 1-0 in a Division II girls soccer district championship. For the sixth time in seven years, the Warriors will be regional-bound, this time playing Parma Heights Holy Name at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Wadsworth.
“She had one earlier in the first half where she dribbled and probably could have taken one more touch to get more of the goal in her sight. She kicked it near,” Ontario coach Larry Atkinson said. “The second one, she put the ball in there pretty good. She controlled the ball out top and used her body very well and turned on the defenders very well and got behind them a few times to give us a few good opportunities to score.”
Key to that goal in the first half was it came while Ontario was playing into the brisk wind.
“I knew the wind was going to be a factor in the second half, but I didn’t think it was going to be that substantial that we would struggle to just even feed a ball,” Clear Fork coach Brittany Bechtel said. “With the wind with them and having that in second half and that goal, they were able every time they got a ball to just crank it, crank a ball, crank a ball, crank a ball.”
The Colts managed five shots in the first half, but only got one off in the second 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Ontario continued to put the pressure on Clear Fork by taking shots when they arose. The Warriors had eight shots in the first half and seven more in the second half.
“We couldn’t get numbers up because we couldn’t even get the ball,” Bechtel said. “It didn’t even feel as if they were playing in front of our goal, either. It seemed like the game was played on the line out of bounds and just kind of dull.”
Bechtel liked how her team eventually responded to the loss of All-Ohio forward Jordyne Helinski at midseason to a knee injury. The Colts finished at 15-3, but were outright Ohio Cardinal Conference champs. As for the Northern Ohio League champion and sixth-ranked Warriors at 17-2, the season continues.
“I thought we came out pretty prepared and we knew it was going to be a hard game coming in, but I think the outcome was what we expected,” Ontario senior Olivia Shaver said.