CLEVELAND — North Olmsted coach Erika Kleinholz saw her team’s season come to an end in one of the most disappointing ways.
Top-seeded Magnificat ousted the Eagles from further play with a 1-0 shootout win in a Division I district semifinal at St. Ignatius High School’s Wasmer Field on Wednesday night.
With their win, the Blue Streaks (10-5-3) will host Westlake in a district championship game Saturday at 3 p.m. The Demons beat Avon Lake 1-0 in Wednesday night’s other district semifinal game.
“This obviously was a tough way to bow out of the tournament,” said Kleinholz. “We knew that we had to play a physically strong game defensively. All of our players worked hard and played well. They left it all out on the field. I’m very proud of them.”
After the two teams battled through 110 minutes of scoreless action (80 minutes of regulation time and two 15-minute overtimes), the coaches sent out five players each for the shootout.
Erika Wilhelm of the fourth-seeded Eagles (8-5-6) started the shootout with a successful kick. Magnificat’s Meaghan Hennessy responded with a good boot past North Olmsted’s Vasi Collander.
North Olmsted’s Jenna Madison saw her kick bounce off the right post before Jacqueline Blades gave the winners a 2-1 advantage.
Elise Bluell of the Eagles was wide left with her team’s third shootout chance. Nicole Luke’s kick sailed high, keeping the Blue Streaks leading 2-1 after three kicks for each team.
Catherine “Cat” Hohmann of the Eagles saw her kick saved. She was awarded another kick when she won her point with the referee that her first kick was blown off its spot by the fierce northeast wind. Magnificat goalie Mattie Liston proceeded to make the save on Hohmann’s second chance.
Kelly McCarthy of the Blue Streaks then found the back of the net, giving the winners a 3-1 advantage.
“Give North Olmsted credit for playing an awesome game,” said Blue Streaks coach Katie Eckleman. “They are extremely aggressive and gave us a hard time getting through their defense. We had our chances but couldn’t finish.”
First-half action saw neither team mount any serious scoring threats. Players offside or solid defense thwarted the chances. One Magnificat shot in the 36th minute glanced off the left side of the crossbar.
The Eagles duplicated the first-half action in the second half. Despite having the wind at their backs, they couldn’t capitalize on several free kicks.
North Olmsted’s Alyssa Balasko had a golden opportunity in the fourth minute of the first overtime. She was alone against Magnificat goalie Liston from close range but saw her shot stopped.
Two North Olmsted players attempted to get a breakaway going in the fifth minute of the second overtime, only to see an offside call go against them. The Blue Streaks couldn’t convert two corner kicks in the last two minutes.
Magnificat 1, North Olmsted 0 (SO)
GOALS (shootout): (M) Meaghan Hennessy, Jacqueline Blades, Kelly McCarthy; (NO) Erika Wilhelm.
SHOTS: Magnificat 6; North Olmsted 9.
SHOTS ON GOAL: Magnificat 2; North Olmsted 6.
SAVES: (M) Mattie Liston 7; (NO) Vasi Collander 1.
CARDS: (M) Meaghan Hennessy (yellow, 76th minute).