By Rob Kiser
The Piqua girls soccer team got its first win over Vandalia-Butler since 2013, erasing a 2-1 deficit with five unanswered goals in the second half to win 5-2.
Piqua improved to 5-4-0 overall and 4-2-0 in GWOC American play. Vandalia dropped to 4-5-1 overall and 4-1-1 in GWOC American play.
And just the momentum builder Piqua needed heading into a tough stretch in the schedule.
“I sure hope so,” Piqua coach Bret Ritter said about the win being a big one for the Lady Indians. “We are going to focus on that these next few training sessions as we prepare for Springfield, Tipp (Tippecanoe) and Sidney.”
In the opening half, Vandalia-Butler struck first on a goal by Ella Neeley.
After a Piqua goal was disallowed by offsides, Makenzie Ellerman tied the game from in front of the Butler goal.
But, late in the first half, Maddie Mitchell finished a corner from Neeley to give Vandalia a 2-1 lead.
Still, Ritter felt confident at halftime.
“I felt like during the first half, there was very little energy on both sides and that was because of the heat,” Ritter said. “Once we got our legs under us and started playing our game, we were able to control the tempo and possession. That allowed us to create and make good shots.”
The second half was all Piqua as the Vandalia defense had no answer for the Lady Indians offensive onslaught.
Hailey McPherson scored an unassisted goal from point blank range at the 35:31.8 mark to even the game 2-2.
Claire Bim-Merle would take a through ball from Kaylee Lacy and finished in front of the Vandalia goal with 31:00.1 remaining to give Piqua a 3-2 lead.
With 19:37.5 to go in the game, Grave Strevell finished off a corner kick by Shayna Bragg to put Piqua up 4-2.
Piqua’s final goal was set up by a steal by Tashaya Tipton.
Bragg was able to take her pass and finish at 18:26.7 mark to make it 5-2.
“We have discussed how important it is for the forwards and midfielders to defend as soon as they lose the ball and both those girls (Kaylee Lacy and Tashaya Tipton) did a great job of that today,” Ritter said. “We have also been working non-stop on slotting thru balls at the flags, so Kaylee did a great job to create that goal and Tashaya fought real hard today to win back lost possessions and it paid off with her assist.”
Piqua had 16 shots in the game, including 12 on goal.
Jennouleigha Tipton had five saves and Tanner Grise had two.
Piqua travels to Springfield Monday, before hosting Tippecanoe Wednesday — and will take with them the momentum of a big win over a longtime nemesis.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.