XENIA — When enough pressure is placed on something, crazy things can happen.
In Tuesday night’s Division II girls soccer regional semifinal match at Doug Adams Stadium, the Carroll Patriots placed enough pressure on the Oakwood Lumberjacks defense to enable Hannah Ritter to score a crazy goal.
With just less than 15 minutes left to play in the first half, and the Patriots beginning to apply plenty of offensive pressure deep in the Jills’ end of the pitch, an Oakwood defender seemed to whiff at kicking the ball into the clear, and Ritter pounced on the opportunity.
The Carroll (15-4-1) senior gained control of the ball, made a sliding kick from off to the right side of the Oakwood (14-5-2) goal before any of the Jills could regain control and …
… the ball went in!
“It was a loose ball. There wasn’t a set play or anything like that. I was just trying to get to the ball, and then I slid and kicked it and tried to make it go in,” Ritter said. “This is incredible.”
With the win, Carroll has now reached the regional semis for the first time since 1997. Carroll coach Sarah Flach said her team has been enjoying its postseason ride.
“I keep telling the girls, it’s nerve wracking and it’s stressful and I have some gray hairs, but you just take the memories for what they are,” she said. “(Ritter) has more heart than anybody I know. She gives 150 percent for however many seconds she’s out there for us. She’s invaluable for our team.”
Oakwood was able to put some pressure on the Carroll defense late in the second half, two consecutive drives were by the Jills’ speedy Abby Eifert, but co-captains Michaela Hoagland and Abby McNamara each came up with key stops each time.
The Jills’ Inge Mueller found herself wide open with a breakaway toward the Patriots goal with just over four minutes remaining, but the senior forward’s shot sailed wide right and out of bounds.
“This is one of those matches where it could’ve gone both ways,” said Oakwood first-year coach Ryan Connelly. “We had some chances, they had some chances. Kudos to them for finishing when they had their opportunity. It’s a frustrating loss, but it is what it is.”
With the win, Carroll will now face Cincinnati Indian Hill (15-1-3) at 3 p.m. Saturday. As of presstime, the site of the regional championship match had yet to be determined.
Indian Hill defeated Plain City Jonathan Alder, 4-1, Tuesday night in Huber Heights.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.