Springfield Catholic traveled to Osage to take on a fired up Lady Indians team in sectional play on Tuesday night. In only their third year as a program, the Lady Indians came out of the gate strong in their first ever sectional game. After spending most of the first half on the defensive, the Lady Irish offense was ignited by Lydia Holtmann and Catholic proceeded to claim a 3-0 victory to advance to quarterfinal play.
Osage took full advantage of a strong wind and it’s turf field early on in the game. The Lady Indians used through ball passes to fire the ball into Irish territory on the quick field. This led to several solid scoring opportunities, but Irish goal keeper Mary Wichmer was able to deflect all of them.
“We had a couple opportunities early in the game that had we finished them, you just don’t know what would have happened,” said Osage head coach Brandon Randall.
After fending off shots resulting from these quick breaks for the first 20 minutes of play, Wichmer began to roam out of the box to scoop up the long passes before they could be touched again by an Osage striker. Osage continued to send the ball downfield, but almost every attempt was foiled by Wichmer after she made the adjustment.
“We knew with them playing at home that they were going to come out really excited and excited,” said Catholic head coach Ben Timson. “They won the coin toss so they got to play with the big wind. They were really strong with the ball and fortunately Mary was able to come out and stop them all.”
Meanwhile, the Lady Irish we’re struggling to move the ball towards the Osage goal as they faced both the wind and tough defending by the Lady Indians. Finally, with nine minutes to play in the first half, Rachel Sweeney was able to send the ball across the middle for Holtmann to blast her first of three goals on the night.
Holtmann did not wait long to tack on her second goal of the night as she was able to pop the ball out of a crowded shuffle and past the keeper with four minutes remaining in the half. After being on their heels for most of the first forty minutes of play, the Lady Irish were able to swing the momentum at the very end and take a commanding 2-0 lead into the half.
“If they would have got an early goal then that would have given them all kinds of momentum, but we were able to hang in there,” said Timson. “We were finally able to get things turned around after the first 20 minutes and to get up two goals at half was very big for us.”
The flag behind the east end zone of the stadium that was flailing wildly in the first half had fallen completely limp by the time the teams came out for the second half. Even though Catholic would not get the natural advantage enjoyed by Osage in the first half, the Lady Irish had no issues closing out the game.
Catholic remained aggressive in an effort to expand it’s lead, pushing the ball down the field for one shot after another. On the defensive side of the ball, Ali Libel and Katelyn Sallee were able to stop any efforts made by the Lady Indians before they could become much of a threat.
Holtmann completed her hat trick with 25 minutes remaining in the game as she powered a ball from the 15 yard line past the keeper. This is the third time this season that Lydia has scored three or more goals in a game.
“Lydia put on a fantastic performance tonight,” said Timson. She reads the game so well and she was able to get there when we needed her there and she was able to finish.”
The Lady Irish were able to waste the rest of the clock to complete the shutout and punch their ticket to the quarter final round.
Osage wraps up the season with a record of 18-5. Coach Randall was pleased with how his team competed and is looking forward to next season.
“We didn’t shut down or quit, we kept fighting the entire game,” said Randall. “It was a learning experience, we started ten underclassmen tonight and that is excited for us to have them come back because that means we will be better next year.”
Catholic will play the winner of Dixon and St. Paul Lutheran on Saturday. The game will be held at Catholic if St. Paul Lutheran wins. If Dixon wins then the game will be held at Dixon.
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