If they kept time of possession in high school soccer games, the West Holmes Lady Knights’ time would have been off the charts in their Div. II East district tournament opener against Philo on Monday, Oct. 16 at West Holmes High School.
Yet for as much as the Lady Knights dominated the ball, they had nothing to show for it through the first half of the game.
It wasn’t until Whitney Miller split three Electric defenders seven minutes into the second half that West Holmes could finally find the lead, and it would be midway through the second half when Charolette Brown would find Taylor Vecchio with a stunning pass to set up the Lady Knights’ second goal so they could finally breath easier.
The 2-0 win allowed the number-14-seeded Lady Knights to take down the feisty number-18 Electric and advance to the next stage of tournament play to face the district’s number-three-seeded River View Black Bears.
“That was a frustrating first half because we were just a bit off on our touches, a bit too strong,” Lady Knights coach Brooke Fox said. “I thought we did a much better job of passing and finding feet in the second half.”
Fox had some options when it came to finding a spot in the district tournament, but the one thing she liked about the play-in game to face River View was that her team hadn’t played for an entire week, so she felt it was necessary to get a game in before they faced River View.
“I took this game because I felt it would be an awesome opportunity to play a tournament game at home, but more importantly we needed to play someone because it had been so long since we played our last game,” Fox said. “We needed to get back into action, and it is only going to help our confidence that we’re going into the River View game with another win.”
This tournament win comes on the heels of an upset win at the end of the regular season over New Philadelphia, the districts number-six seed. That win was important because the Quakers defeated River View earlier this season. While the Lady Knights scrimmaged River View and were beaten soundly before the season began, the knowledge that the Quakers beat the Black Bears and the Lady Knights beat the Quakers provides a real jolt of confidence.
“We saw River View in a scrimmage this summer, and they destroyed us. Then we had them at Crew Stadium this season, and they beat us 2-0, but I think the win over New Phila is going to give us a boost of confidence that we can go compete with them.”
As for the tournament win, Fox said that too will only add to their confidence level.
However, it took the Lady Knights awhile to finally find the net against a Philo team that proved to be quite determined. While West Holmes continued to attack, every time they found themselves playing a through ball on the attack, the passes seemed to travel just a tad too far and found their way to the Electric keeper or a defender’s foot.
Miller’s dance through the defenders proved to be exactly what the doctor ordered for West Holmes.
“We were a little frustrated with getting shut out in the first half, and so once I cleared the defenders, I had a pretty simple, little shot, and sometimes that’s the kind of thing you need to get going and take the pressure off. I thought we came out in the second half and applied a little more pressure to their defense and passed the ball better,” Miller said.
Miller and Vecchio’s score along with the incredible defense of the Lady Knights’ backs made life simple for keeper Morgan Stephenson, who had just one save on the night.