By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — It has become a battle of two Shelby County Schools that are arguably the top D-III girl soccer teams in the Dayton area.
And Thursday’s matchup on the soccer pitch at Lehman Catholic High School involving the Lady Cavaliers and the Rockets from Anna did not disappoint.
Lehman, the third-ranked D-III team in the state — and 12th ranked Anna went toe-to-toe for 80 minutes before the Rockets emerged with a 1-0 victory.
Anna improved to 6-0-1, while Lehman Catholic dropped to 4-1 — and it gave the Rockets the upperhand in a quest for a second straight Western Ohi0 Soccer League title.
“It was a really good game,” Lehman Catholic coach Jeremy Lorenzo said. “Anna is a really good team. They have an experience back line that has been playing together for several years. This is the best Anna team I have seen.”
The result was the same a year ago — before the Lady Cavaliers won the district title after Anna goalie Savannah Hostetler was injured and could not play.
“Last year, I didn’t think we played that well (in the loss to Anna),” Lorenzo said. “This year, I thought we played pretty well.”
The two teams battled for almost 70 minutes in the heat, before Taylor Knoll of Anna scored the game-winning goal.
Anna had an earlier chance with 15:21 to go, when Giguere had to come out of the goal and the Rockets had an empty net.
But, the shot hit off the crossbar and sailed over the net.
But, with 11:32 remaining, Knoll took a deflection and found the net with shot that was deflected by Giguere.
“It is really hard to describe that goal,” Lorenzo said. “There were a couple deflections. Then it deflected off Hannah (Giguere) and found the net. All goals aren’t pretty. But, that doesn’t matter.”
Lehman actually outshot Anna 11-6 in the game, but was never able to finish.
“The shots we got were not of the highest quality,” Lorenzo said. “Like I said, that Anna backline has been playing together for three years. They are really good.”
And Lorenzo knows his team learned a lot from the matchup.
“We are going to get better from this,” he said. “You never know (if the two teams will meet in the postseason). This is just our fifth game. We have a long way to go. It is still early in the season and we will continue to grow as a team.”
And regardless of the outcome, it was a great night for Shelby County soccer.
“Absolutely,” Lorenzo said. “You have a lot of fans. You have two teams from 10 to 12 miles apart who are both state ranked.”
And as usual — the matchup lived up to the hype.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.