Oak Harbor girls headed to state

Rockets defeat Liberty-Benton in regional final
Sarah Baker
Nov 3, 2013

The historic run continues.

Oak Harbor's girls soccer team is headed to state for the first time in program history, after making it through its first regional appearance.

Down for the first time in the tournament, the Rockets came back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Findlay Liberty-Benton 2-1 in a Division III regional championship game Saturday at Clyde.

With the win, Oak Harbor (19-1-1) goes on to play Gates Mills Hawken (15-1-5) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a state semifinal match at a site to be determined.

Gates Mills Hawken beat Elyria Catholic 1-0 Saturday in a regional championship match.

"My heart is pounding," Oak Harbor coach Renee Goldstein said. "We all agreed that we didn't play the best game of our career, however this is much further than we've ever been. We're excited about going to state, the girls want to go. They really, really want to go. This is beyond words."

Liberty-Benton got on the board midway through the first half as Jana Fish played a through ball into the box that Sam Johnson placed right past Oak Harbor keeper Ivy Martin.

The teams went back and forth after the goal, with a handful of opportunities on both sides.

With 15 minutes left in the half, Oak Harbor's Emma Barney sent in a cross from the left flank to Paige Velliquette, who played it to Amanda Hetrick in the upper part of the box. Hetrick sent it over.

A minute later, Fish took a corner kick that was cleared out by Oak Harbor's defense.

Hetrick had a pair of corner kicks for the Rockets following that, the first one cleared by Liberty-Benton's defense, and the second swatted down by keeper Kaitlyn Hanrahan.

With 10 minutes left in the half, Martin came up with a huge save for the Rockets, as she stopped Liberty-Benton's Jensen Hiegel on a breakaway one vs. one inside the box.

Just over a minute later, Oak Harbor's Brittany Watkins placed a far post shot off a long throw in, but Hanrahan came up with a diving save for the Eagles to retain the 1-0 lead.

It would not last long, however, as Barney took the ball down the left side of the field and slotted a cross to Alexa Weis, who placed the ball past the keeper to knot things up with 7:30 left in the half.

"The girls they never quit," Goldstein said. "I'm sure their heads dropped after the first goal, but they never quit." 

The teams traded opportunities throughout the second half, with the Eagles' best chance coming with 15 minutes left in the half when Kayla Trevino had a breakaway run. However, Noelle Peterson shutdown the run and cleared out the ball to retain the 1-1 tie.

Hanrahan made another big save to keep the Eagles' hopes alive as Oak Harbor's Mackenzie Auger took a shot from distance that was headed for the far post. Hanrahan batted it down and almost into the goal, but it went out for a corner kick.

The deadlock remained until Sandusky Bay Conference Player of the Year Barney broke out and cut through Liberty-Benton's defense to score the game-winner with just under six minutes remaining.

Liberty-Benton ends the season with an 18-1-1 record.



Congratulations Lady Rockets and best of luck