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Notre Dame Ends AW Girls’ Season In District Final

AW sophomore Hannah Rybicki moves the ball past a Notre Dame defender in a district final game on October 26. Rybicki had three assists in the district semifinal game versus Findlay on October 24. MIRROR PHOTOS BY KEVIN FINNIGAN
AW senior Jen Fortner kicks the ball in a district final game versus Notre Dame on October 26. The Eagles topped the Generals 1-0 to end AW’s season.

BY JOEL SENSENIG | MIRROR SPORTS — A historically memorable season came to an end for the Anthony Wayne girls soccer team as it came up on the short end of a 1-0 district final contest with Notre Dame Academy at Springfield High School on October 26. The Generals (15-3-1) are the winningest team in coach Lori Williams’ storied 15 years with the program. They shared the Northern Lakes League title with Perrysburg with a 6-0-1 mark. The difference in the defensive battle on a cool night was a goal off a corner kick for the Eagles (12-5-3), who had a 7-6 advantage in shots on the night. With 32:33 remaining in the game, sophomore Hannah Miller came up with the ball after it was sent in front of the AW goal by senior Sarah Sabol. Miller booted it past the Generals’ sophomore goalkeeper Keaton Grabarczyk for what would turn out to be the only offense of the contest. It was the first 1-0 loss of the season for AW, which had won five games by scoring just once. Williams said the game came down to taking advantage of the few chances either team had (the Eagles had a 7-6 advantage in shots). “I felt like we had a couple chances and they had a couple chances. They put theirs away,” she said. “We were just a stride away from being able to finish two in the first half.” The Generals won their first matchup with ND this fall, a 2-0 game on October 7. “The difference between the first time we played them (and now) was we got an early goal and it kind of changed the complexity of the game,” Williams said. “(We) let a great team hang around and then they did really well with their opportunity.” Notre Dame had a couple of early scoring chances via a booming kick by junior Ashley Barron that was just wide and a shot by classmate Sydney Unverferth off a corner kick that was saved by Grabarczyk. Anthony Wayne had a dangerous chance of its own 9:00 in when sophomore Hannah Rybicki delivered a ball to the front of the box that just missed the leg of senior Emilie Reese. The teams weren’t able to generate many chances in the second portion of the half, however, and there was no score at the break. Early in the second half, one got the feeling that one goal may be all that was needed to earn the trip to regionals. The Eagles got that goal from Miller less than 8:00 into the half. While the Generals had a couple of chances as the game wore on, ND senior goalie Abby Snyder and the Eagles defense answered the call when it was needed. After her team received the tough-to-swallow runner-up district trophy, Williams said she will always remember the seniors who helped mold this young team. “The seniors were fantastic. It really comes down to that,” she said. “That’s what I take away from this year is how incredible they were with bringing up some really young kids in the ranks and making sure nobody was left behind and making sure that they knew that no moment was too big for them. “Regardless of class, the seniors did a great job of making sure that everybody was ready for it.” AW 4, Findlay 0 Reese had a hat trick in leading the Generals to a 4-0 district semifinal win over Findlay at Springfield High School on October 24. The win set up the game two nights later with Notre Dame, which won a 2-1 shootout battle with Clay earlier in the evening. Anthony Wayne and the Trojans (6-9-3) had to deal with the less-than-ideal elements on the night, as steady rain and gusty winds made play naturally shift to the north side of the field. AW had to adjust to even just being in a game atmosphere, having not played in 12 days. The week before, Start forfeited the sectional contest because of a lack of players. Shots were few and far between in the early going, although AW kept the ball on the Findlay side of the pitch most of the time. There were just two shots (one per team) in the first 20 minutes of play. The Generals got a nice scoring chance with 14:00 left in the half when senior Jen Fortner booted the ball screaming toward the net from 30 yards out, only to have it hit the cross bar and bounce back in front of the net, where Reese was waiting. She launched it toward the goal, but it sailed high. Anthony Wayne finally broke the scoring drought with about 6:30 to play in the half when Rybicki took a ball in the midfield and headed it forward up ahead to Reese on the right side of the box. Reese took control of the ball, sized up the shot and booted it on the ground to the left side of the net, giving the Generals a 1-0 advantage, where the score would remain through the closing minutes of the half. Just over two minutes into the second half, Rybicki crossed the ball from the right flank to the middle of the box, where Reese was waiting and booted it past goalkeeper Kendra Wurm for the 2-0 lead. Two minutes later, the Rybicki-Reese connection fired up again as the sophomore found the senior open in front of the net on another cross pass from the right, almost mirroring the second goal. “I thought Rybicki had some unbelievable service in, (and) Jen had a great service on the corner kick for the fourth goal,” Williams said. “Those assists were great, but Deuce (Reese, who wears the No. 2 jersey) was on a different level today.” Now in command with a 3-0 lead, AW added one more when Fortner launched a corner kick in front of the net, where sophomore Sam Schofield received it and put it into the net for the fourth and final goal of the night. Rybicki said the chemistry was there between herself and Reese on the night. “We’re always working on chemistry as a team, so tonight me and Emilie were on,” she said. “Our intensity had to be up because we hadn’t had a game in a while and we had to play as a team. That’s our best asset.” The Generals outshot the Trojans 18-2.

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