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AHS girls soccer edged in soccer battle by AE

By Cort Reynolds

The spunky Ada High School girls soccer team lost a hard-fought 2-0 bout to visiting backyard arch-rival Allen East in a Northwest Conference makeup match on a chilly Saturday night, October 15, under the War Memorial Park Stadium lights.

The Bulldog girls finished the regular season 5-11 overall and 0-6 in the NWC with the tough defeat. 

With the victory, the Lady Mustangs improved to 11-5-1 and ended up 3-3 in the NWC. AE finished fourth in the seven-team NWC standings. 

Bluffton won the league title at 6-0, finishing ahead of Columbus Grove (5-1) and Delphos Jefferson (4-2).

"It really stinks when the results don't equal out to the amount of effort put in," said Ada first-year head coach Doug Dewese. "These girls played their hearts out and probably had their best game of the season."

It was the last home game for lone Ada senior Ella Badertscher.

"I am especially proud of the effort by senior center-back Ella Badertscher in her last home game," Dewese noted. "She played some of the best lights-out defense of the season.

"We also had some great efforts from our midfield including Kailey Wagner, Karley Wagner, Karmen Hall and Jenna Rodrigues," he added.

Allen East sophomore Rilynn Jones scored in the first five minutes, and the Mustangs carried that 1-0 lead into halftime.

AE had several scoring opportunities in half two, yet was unable to convert most of them. The resilient Ada defense bent but didn't break throughout the second half.

The Mustangs had a solid shot sail over the goal with 35:56 left.

Ada goalkeeper Alyssa Nau made a good save of a shot and a rebound try by the Mustangs at the 32:05 mark.

AE earned a corner kick 35 seconds later, but the one-timer boot was saved.

AE got two shots off a corner kick at the 26:05 juncture, but both were muffled and blocked in a crowd of players in front of the Ada goal.

The Bulldogs mounted a counter-attack off the blocked shots, but Mustang keeper Nikki Thaxton smothered the Ada shot attempt.

"We had a missed foul on Lexi Poling with 25 minutes left in the game that should have been a PK (penalty kick) and a 1-1 game at the time," said Dewese. "If we get that goal I think we win the game - but we didn't."

AE scoring ace Jones then got off a good left corner kick, yet Nau again saved a one-timer kick try off the fly.

But seconds later, the speedy Jones converted her second goal with 18:26 left in the game to double the AE lead to 2-0.

A long Mustang direct kick after Jones drew a hard foul was saved by Nau at the 14:40 mark.

Ada again put together a counter attack off the save, but the shot went wide.

Jones kept the pressure up by penetrating the Bulldog defense at the 13:45 mark, but her shot went just wide. 

The Bulldogs got off a left side shot, but Thaxton saved it at the 13:02 point.

Jones used her speed to run up on a long through ball, but her driving shot went wide at the 7:33 mark.

Nau made a nice save off a bouncing Mustang shot with 5:30 remaining. She made another save off a Mustang corner kick with 3:44 to go.

The Bulldog keeper then smothered an AE shot on goal with 2:49 to play. Nau then made a bobbling save off a Jones shot with 1:45 left to keep the final margin to two.

"To the girls credit, they never gave up and played the hardest 80 minutes I have seen all season," said Dewese. 

Nau ended up with 10 saves in goal.

The Ada girls soccer team will play at seventh-seeded Upper Sandusky (7-5-3) Monday, October 17 at 5 p.m. in Div. III sectional first round tournament action.

The Lady Bulldogs were seeded ninth in the 12-team Bluffton sectional/district. Ada lost to visiting Upper Sandusky 4-2 on September 22.

The Ada/US victor will play at second seed Van Buren (11-4-2) Thursday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m.  

That winner advances to the district semifinals at Bluffton on Tuesday, Oct. 25. That match will likely be against the winner between sixth seed Allen East (11-5-1) and third seed Riverdale (7-5-2).