WARSAW — On Thursday night, Rosecrans — the fifth-ranked team in Division III, according to the OSSCA state poll — looked every bit as good as the ranking it held.
The Bishops dominated possession for most of their matchup against River View, leading to a 3-0 win.
“I think this was one of the best games they’ve played this season,” Rosecrans coach Tom Hutcheson said. “I really liked the way we moved the ball on the ground.”
While the Bishops were successful moving the ball on the ground, the same wasn’t said for the Black Bears, who at times seemed like they trying to send the ball long too much instead of knocking it around through the midfield to move forward.
“We were trying to make the final pass from 40 yards out, and they were just sitting on everything,” Black Bears coach Dave Kridler said. “It’s something we have to come to grips with because we can play the way we played tonight and have a fair amount of success this year, but we won’t be able to beat anybody that’s really good unless we link up.”
Early in the first half, both teams were knocking the ball around through the midfield nicely, but the Bishops got the first real chance and slotted it away with 31:49 to go in the first half.
As the ball was bouncing around in the box, Kylan Harper made the first goal.
The Bishops came right back and scored another on a header by Chloe Amich with 23:07 left in the first half.
After that goal, the Black Bears moved Danielle Muhleman back on defense to stabilize the game, Kridler said.
“It was necessary to stop the bleeding at the time,” he said. “Then it got to the point where we wanted to keep the game close and crawl back in, but we didn’t crawl in.”
But the Black Bears weren’t without their share of chances in the first half, despite the Bishops’ ability to control the pace of the game and possession.
The Black Bears just couldn’t put the final pieces together when it mattered the most, totaling two shots on goal, as the Bishops defense came away with stop after stop.
“Typically, we play three in the back, but I really liked what I saw with the four defenders in the back,” Hutcheson said. “That’s a new concept to us, and it’s something we’ve been working on this season. They really did well with it tonight.”
The Bishops went into the half leading 2-0, and while the second half didn’t produce many more goals, it was more of the same.
Rosecrans controlled the possession and stopped River View’s long ball attack before it even got started. With 18:44 left in the game, Harper hit a shot from about 25 yards out to beat keeper Lauren Krystek, who finished the game with seven saves, to cap the scoring.
“We will continue to work on the small ball. When they do it, they do it well, and it gives teams fits,” Hutcheson said.