Redbirds dash Lady Hawks hopes as quick as lightning

Loudonville scored at a lightning-quick pace early against Hiland in their soccer match-up Thursday, August 25 at Hiland High School.

Then a physical lightning bolt put an end to the third game of the season for the two girls’ soccer teams.

The contest on the pitch at Hiland High School featured two teams in different places right now, that are trying to basically accomplish the same thing in gaining strides in making themselves better.

An experienced and athletic Loudonville squad dealt the Lady Hawks of Hiland a 4-0 defeat on a weather-shortened night, and while the Redbirds are looking great as they storm out of the gate this season, Hiland continues to look to gain confidence as they try to break the winless string that has started the new year.

In this one, Loudonville’s strength and quickness showed up immediately, and the Redbirds extended the lead throughout the contest.

Nikki Weber scored the Redbirds’ first goal and Stephanie Kline followed suit to put Loudonville up 2-0 at the half. Hannah Carroll knocked on home early in the second half, and Makaylee Zuercher’s connection on a penalty kick put the Redbirds in complete command.

However, neither team could compete with Mother Nature, as a lightning bolt from the heaven’s brought the action to a halt with 10:30 left to play.

Both coaches agreed to send everyone home at that point rather than wait at least 30 minutes, if not more, to complete the contest.

“It’s been a great start to the season for us, and these girls have worked really hard to learn how to play together as a team,” said Loudonville coach Laurie Weber. “They’ve got a great desire to compete, and they are playing with a lot of heart.”

For the Lady Hawks, it was another game without finding the back of the net, making the 0-3 team scoreless through its first three contests.

“The longer it goes on, the more frustrating it becomes by every minute,” said Hiland coach Jeremy Kauffman. “You can see it on the kids’ faces. It is going to be an amazing feeling when we finally break through and get that first goal, and I think it will have an amazing impact on our play overall.”

Kauffman said the troublesome part to the start of the season is that he doesn’t think his team has played up to its abilities yet. Not putting players in position to produce has been part of that problem, but he said that when the look back at this season when it comes to an end, they will see that their games against Central Christian and Loudonville may well be two of their tougher opponents.

“Loudonville has some very talented players on both sides of the ball,” said Kauffman. “Their keeper was very good, and when you have that, they can come out aggressively and attack. But I told the girls that it is three games out of 16, and we have a long way to go yet. We just need to keep grinding away, and things will get better as we improve and gain some confidence.”

Confidence was not something the Redbirds lacked. Coming off a very good 12-3-1 season a year ago, the team returns a tremendous core of talent that is both athletic and physical.

“We’ve got some girls who will run through people to get what they want, but more than just the athleticism, this team seems to understand that we aren’t going to be perfect, and when someone makes a mistake, we help fix it on the field,” said Weber. “I think when we play more like a family instead of a team, we are there for everyone’s ups and downs, and we help each other get through their downs and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.”

Now at 3-0, the Redbirds are rolling early, and with nine seniors dotting the field, the expectations for this group is very high.

Much like Kauffman, Weber said the record is not what she is focusing on at this point, but rather just making her team better on a daily basis.

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