By Rob Kiser
TROY — It was a matchup of two local girls soccer powers that traditionally go deep into the D-III tournament.
So, it seemed only fitting that Lehman Catholic and Troy Christian would play to a 1-1 tie at Troy Christian High School Tuesday.
“I think they (Lehman) are probably the best team in the area,” Troy Christian coach Brian Peters said. “And we have some young kids out there. I was really pleased with the way our kids stepped up.”
Lehman and coach Jeremy Lorenzo were coming off a 1-0 win over highly-touted Madeira to start the season and Lorenzo was not too disappointed in the final outcome.
“We got the early goal and then I didn’t think we played that well the rest of the first half,” Lorenzo said. “I thought we came out and played much better in the second half. We have another tough game with Celina Saturday. We knew these first three games were going to test us.”
Lehman scored just 1:16 into the game when Grace Olding took a loose ball just outside the box and drilled it into the corner of the net.
“It was a great shot by Grace (Olding),” Lorenzo said. “She is just a freshman. We have been waiting for her to break out.”
Troy Christian quickly settled down.
“As you saw, it was a little rough at the start,” Peters said. “We are a pretty young team. I thought we got back to playing Troy Christian soccer after that.”
The Eagles would get the equalizer with 14:43 to go in the half.
Riley Spoltin put a corner kick in front of the Lehman net and when the ball didn’t get cleared, Kinley Blake finished it to tie the game.
“Kinley (Blake) is just a freshman,” Peters said. “Riley (Spoltin) gave her a good ball.”
While the ball was in the Troy Christian end much of the second half, the Lady Cavaliers were never able to cash in with the tie-breaker.
“We had some chances,” Lorenzo said. “I thought Samantha (Edwards) was doing a great job of directing things in the middle of the field. But, Troy Christian was putting nine or 10 girls in the box. That makes things tough.”
Troy Christian’s Cara Salazar had seven saves on Lehman’s 16 shots, while Lehman keeper Grace Brandt recorded two saves on the Lady Eagles three shots.
“Cara (Salazar) is just a freshman,” Peters said. “We feel very blessed to have her back there. She does a great job of directing the defense and putting them in the right positions. That is not something we have always had.”
Another key was the defense of Meredith Haddad.
Haddad had a non-goalie save at the 15-minute mark to keep things tied.
“Meredith (Haddad) is the heart and soul of our defense,” Peters said. “She has been a fullback or stopper for three years. What she does is let the outsides take some intelligent gambles at times. They know she is going to be back there behind them.”
Peters had only one regret about the matchup.
“I would rather have this game later in the season,” he said with a smile.
Lorenzo knows the tough start is only going to make Lehman better.
“We were able to play our bench more tonight that we did Saturday,” Lorenzo said. “That is going to help us as they gain experience. Really, I am not too upset with a tie.”
As, you might expect.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.