WESTFIELD TWP. — It was a night of mixed emotions for the Cloverleaf girls soccer team.
The good news Wednesday was that after their much-anticipated match with Copley, the Colts maintained a game lead atop the Suburban League standings.
On the flip side, Cloverleaf didn’t gain an extra space between itself and the Indians, as the squads played to a 0-0 draw at Gene Clark Stadium.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t happen” Colts coach Val Baughman said. “It didn’t happen for them tonight and it didn’t happen for us. But we’re still in first place in the league and hopefully we can stay there and build from tonight.”
Although neither team was pleased with the result, the tilt didn’t disappoint. Both sides had a handful of quality shots, the defensive back lines made key clear outs and the goalkeeping was solid.
In the end, Cloverleaf (6-1-2, 3-0-1), winners of the last two SL championships, kept its stronghold on first place with three matches to play, while Copley (4-4-2, 2-0-2) is a step off the pace.
“It’s always going to be a good game with Coach Baughman’s group,” Copley coach Wally Senk said. “From top to bottom, I think we dominated the majority of the match. We created some opportunities, but they made it difficult for us because they’re organized.
“Overall it was a good game. I think the girls are disappointed that we didn’t come away with a result. I think they thought we should’ve scored a couple of times, but in the end both sides did very well.”
After a first half in which the Colts outshot their opponent 5-2, the Indians came out with new-found energy and were able to put together a host of counterattacks.
The Cloverleaf defense, led by goalkeeper Sarah Kalain (4 saves) and defender Katie Kolodka, kept Copley off the scoreboard. Kolodka made a handful of key stops and also had a shot attempt midway through the final half from about 30 yards out.
“I thought we played really well,” she said. “We stayed really composed and we just tried to limit their shots.”
The Indians had shots by Sasha Haverchak and Lexi Gruich hit the post in the second half and one other good look at the goal, an attempt by Haverchak that was saved by Kalain, a senior in her first full season as the varsity starter after playing behind All-Gazette keeper Karly Beuck.
“I think we really stepped it up tonight,” Kalain said after the Colts’ seventh shutout. “We just have to focus on the games in the future and take it one game at a time.”
Cloverleaf senior Katie Roberts had a pair of attempts late in the game that had Copley fans holding their breath. One shot deflected off goalie Hannah Seeman (7 saves) and was eventually cleared by the Indians’ Michelle Dichlian, while the other was headed for the top left-hand corner of the net before Seeman leaped and batted the ball away with one hand.
“They made a real surge to score (in the second half), but I thought my defense was outstanding,” Baughman said. “That’s a good team and we knew it was going to be a battle.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.