Ridgway girls soccer used a second-half goal for the difference in a 3-2 win over St. Marys Monday afternoon at Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School in Ridgway.
“I knew coming in this was going to be a hard game,” Ridgway coach Greg Maddalena said. “It’s the third time we’ve seen them. I told the girls it’s going to be an 80-minute game. They (St. Marys) made some adjustments, they’re not a bad team at all, they’re a very good team. They played well. We just have to step up to that challenge and raise our level, play as a team and we’ll come out winners.”
St. Marys had lost to the Lady Elkers twice before but opened the game strong in the first 11 minutes. After stopped a Ridgway breakaway, St. Marys senior striker Mia Keener snuck behind the defense and was able to push a shot into the lower right corner to give the Lady Dutch a 1-0 lead with 29:09 left in the first half.
Ridgway junior striker Rhianon Fowler answered with a goal at the 20:11 mark of the half as she took an assist from Jenn Parker and was able to convert for the equalizer.
With 11:42 left before halftime, Gabbi Benninger took a long throw-in to the middle of the field. After the ball was booted around the area, Fowler poured in a shot from around 12 yards out to put the Lady Elkers ahead 2-1.
St. Marys would tie the game just before the half as Lady Dutch senior Lauren Challingsworth scored on a free kick from around 35 yards out. Challingsworth struck the ball and it took a high bounce over the Ridgway goalkeeper and defenders and into the net.
“It was a hard-fought match. It was no gimme,” Maddalena said. “I kept telling the girls ‘You got to be determined in the second half to put the ball in the net to put them away.’ They’re not giving up. They’re a great team, very well-coached. My girls stood up to the challenge and got that third goal.”
Maddalena said he felt St. Marys was excited to go into the halftime break tied with the Lady Elkers.
“We gave up the first goal and we came back,” Maddalena said. “They’re (St. Marys) pumped up, they’re fired up. You’re 2-2 with a team that’s 8-1. I would be fired up too. Everybody wants to beat a team that’s 8-1. I told the girls that to be successful, you got to raise your play up, play as a team and you’re going to win and they did, they finished. I told the girls it’s one game at a time. Don’t take anybody for granted, they know that.”
As the second half began, Courtney Bush would put Ridgway ahead for good with a goal scored underneath the crossbar just under four minutes into the second half.
Ridgway would control most of the possession in the second half.
“It seemed like we dominated more in the second half, kept possession of the ball,” Maddalena said. “It’s an 80-minute game, anything can happen. I’m proud of each and every one of them.”
Ridgway moves to 9-1 on the season and has won seven straight matches.
“I got a hungry core of seniors that are leading this team,” Maddalena said. “They know this is their last year and they know they want to win it all.”
Ridgway will be the home team as the Lady Elkers will play Kane Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Memorial Field in Johnsonburg.