ST. MARYS â€” After almost 73 minutes of scoreless soccer, St. Marys and Wapakoneta each scored a goal in the gameâ€™s final seven minutes as they played to a 1-1 tie in a Western Buckeye League varsity girls soccer match Monday at West Field in St. Marys.
After the Roughriders took a late 1-0 lead, Wapak scored the equalizer and threw the proverbial wrench into St. Marysâ€™ WBL title defense.
â€śWeâ€™ve spent a lot of time talking about mental toughness, of not giving up, of coming back,â€ť Redskins coach Ross Kantner said. â€śTonight the kids were very focused and we believed in what we were trying to do.
â€śWe even made some changes to our formation and line-up and the kids bought in and believed in it. We were able to come back and knock one in.â€ť
Missed opportunities early came back to bite St. Marys, narrowing the margin for error in the Roughridersâ€™ run at repeating as league champs.
St. Marys couldnâ€™t convert on its numerous shots on goal and then gave up a 1-0 lead with about five minutes left in the match, leading to the 1-1 draw.
â€śWe shot and shot and shot and didnâ€™t finish,â€ť St. Marys coach Paul Dingledine said. â€śWe crossed the ball and didnâ€™t finish. The girls on the bench were talking about just missing it. Just about doesnâ€™t do it. Until you put it into the back of the net, itâ€™s going to be a heartbreak.â€ť
Itâ€™s the second tie in WBL play for the Roughriders, who are 4-0-2 in WBL play and tied in second place behind still-unbeaten Shawnee. The Indians were 5-0 in the league heading into Monday night, with St. Marys at 4-0-2, Celina at 3-0-2 and Ottawa-Glandorf at 3-1-1.
St. Marys still controls its own destiny, with Shawnee looming on the schedule at the end of the season. Shawnee still must play Celina in October, as well.
â€śIt doesnâ€™t cost us everything, but it definitely tightens things up in the league,â€ť Dingledine said. â€śWeâ€™re still in it, but itâ€™s going to be tough with O-G, Shawnee and Van Wert left on the schedule.â€ť
St. Marys took a 1-0 lead with 7:07 left in the match when defender Hannah Yaney kicked in a liner to the left side of the net to break the scoreless tie.
Less than three minutes later, Wapakoneta stormed back down the field and tied the game with a Justine Watercutter ground kick past a diving keeper to the right side of the net at the 4:43 mark.
Dingledine said his defense broke down.
â€śWeâ€™ve talked about holding the line and giving our keeper the room to get the ball coming into the 18â€™,â€ť Dingledine said. â€ś(Wapak) kicked it into the 18â€™ and we went right in there with them. Thatâ€™s what can happen when you allow those kind of things to happen.â€ť
St. Marys controlled the action for the majority of the night, getting dozens of crosses. The Riders hit the crossbar and post a half dozen times and Wapak keeper Ashley Knippen took on a steady barrage of shots, but nothing went in until Yaneyâ€™s breakthrough goal.
St. Marys outshot Wapak 20-4. Knippen had 14 saves.
â€śI feel Ashley is the best goalkeeper in the league,â€ť Kantner said. â€śShe has been assaulted with shots every game and sheâ€™s done a nice job. Our defense has done a nice job and Ashley is a main cog in that. Weâ€™ve got a lot of confidence in that defense, we made some changes and we played well.â€ť