By Rob Kiser
PLEASANT HILL — It was just the shot of confidence Newton needed.
For the Piqua girls soccer team hit hard by injuries, it was another tough night on the pitch.
The result was a 3-0 Newton victory Monday night in non-conference action.
And the host Indians didn’t waste any time getting started.
Brittany Koble finished from in front of the goal with 36:53 remaining in the first half.
“We needed that,” Newton coach Stan Fessler said. “We came into this game 0-2. It definitely helped to get a quick goal like that.”
For a Piqua team having lost goalie Reyna Lavey and forward Liz Duer for the season and still having offensive weapon Amy Burt and Maddie Curtner out with injuries, it was a third straight slow start.
“We don’t want to use that (injuries) as an excuse,” Piqua coach Flo Loisy said. “Other girls have to step up. I think it was three goals against Springboro (early), two against Milton-Union and one tonight. I don’t have an answer for it. I think we just don’t come out as aggressive as we need to.”
Newton was then able to gain some momentum going into the locker room, with Kaylee Kesler following Knoble’s deflected shot and drilling it in from the right side with 3:20 left in the half.
“That is one of the things we have been working on,” Fessler said. “We want the kids to move the ball quicker and we did a great job of that there.”
While Newton continued to control the ball in the second half, Brooke Bubp gave the Piqua offense a spark.
She just missed on several scoring opportunities, while Newton hit a couple shots off the crossbar.
“Brooke (Bubp) is a senior. She has one more year of soccer and she is playing like it,” Loisy said. “If some of the other girls were doing that, I don’t think we would have some of the problems we have. We need senior leadership and the girls need to buy into what we are doing.”
The game swung with just under seven minutes remaining.
Claire Bim-Merle was fouled in the box as she move towards the Newton goal at the 6:58 mark.
Grace Jennings took the PK and only a diving save by Newton goalie Haley Stine prevented it from becoming a one-goal game.
“Haley (Stine) has really done a nice job in goal for us this year,” Fessler said.
Erin Sweitzer then took a cross from Kesler and drilled a shot into the corner of the net from 25 yards out at 5:31 mark for the final margin.
“It was a big swing (in momentum),” Fessler said. “That was a great ball by Erin (Sweitzer).”
Loisy wasn’t thinking about what could have been.
“You can’t play the what-if game,” he said. “We had some chances, but Newton hit a couple shots off the crossbar. I think the score reflects the play in the game.”
Stine had three saves for Newton, while Chloe Clark had 11 saves for Piqua.
“We had told Chloe (Clark) she would play in the field this year,” Loisy said. “When Reyna (Lavey) went down, we really weren’t prepared for that. Chloe has done a great job. I don’t have any doubt she is hurt too, but she is going out there and playing hard.”
Newton, 1-2-0, will play at Bethel Thursday, while Piqua, 0-4-0, will travel to West Carrollton Wednesday.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Piqua Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.