WADSWORTH — Longtime Cloverleaf girls soccer coach Val Baughman didn’t need many words to initially describe her team’s efforts Tuesday night.
“My girls do not like to lose,” she said.
Indeed they don’t.
Facing arch-rival Wadsworth and needing a win to keep their lead in the Suburban League title race, the Colts found a way to grit-out a 2-1 victory at Art Wright Stadium.
“It’s great coming in here and beating them on their home field,” senior forward Katie Roberts said with a smile. “We played really good today and everything was on. We made the most of our chances.”
The win helped Cloverleaf (8-2-2, 4-0-1) move a step closer to its third consecutive league championship and stay ahead of Copley (3-0-2 in the SL), which defeated Highland 1-0 on Tuesday. The Colts have matches with Green and Barberton to finish out the SL schedule.
“They knew the Suburban League championship was on the line and we need to just keep With the score knotted at 1 and most of the Colts’ contingent knowing a draw would be devastating, a pair of familiar faces took over.
A little over seven minutes into the second half, senior forward Heather Buckwald threaded the needle with a through-ball to the foot of Roberts, who took two steps and fired it past Grizzlies goalkeeper Victoria Bathrick (4 saves) for the eventual game winner.
“Heather just had a great ball through,” said Roberts, who now has 10 goals for the season. “All I had to do was hit it past the goalie who was sliding.”
Wadsworth (8-3-1, 3-2) had six attempts the rest of the way, three of which were on goal and stopped by Colts keeper Sarah Kalain (5 saves). The senior made a diving save on a try by Kayleigh Miller, with Wadsworth’s Danielle Braman getting the rebound and blazing a shot that was wide right.
“We played hard and we played soccer, but we were just one short on the scoreboard,” Grizzlies coach Ron Mendel said. “We just didn’t finish our opportunities.”
Cloverleaf led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a goal from junior Kelli Slavens. The striker played a ball from Cailin Fairbairn on the right side of the box and chipped a shot that sailed over the head of a screened-in Bathrick.
And other than a foul in the box that led to a penalty kick for Wadsworth’s Amanda Davis early in the second half, the Colts defense played well once again. Veterans Alaina Jordan, Maddie Berry and Katie Kolodka and newcomers Cailin Fairbairn and Kensey Spinder all were solid in the back.
“This is my first year on varsity and it’s really great to play with everybody and pull out the win,” said Fairbairn, whose assist was the first varsity point for the junior. “It’s a really good feeling.
“I think everybody was ready to play. We were all clicking and all together.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.