AVON LAKE — In the final match of her high school career, Kayla Zingale scored two goals Saturday afternoon and had fun doing it.
For starters, they were the only goals anyone scored.
The North Ridgeville forward connected twice in the first half as the White team defeated Purple 2-0 in the Lorain County Soccer Coaches Association’s annual senior girls all-star game at Avon Lake High School.
The other part of the fun was performing well in fast company.
“It’s a really good feeling,” said Zingale, who scored 18 goals for the Rangers this season. “I was excited when I scored, obviously, but it’s really nice to be with a big group of girls that are really good. It’s fun.
White’s goalkeeper, Amy Crooks of Avon Lake, also had a good time posting the shutout.
“It was fun, especially because this was with the best players in Lorain County,” Crooks said. “It was a nice reward, I guess, at the end of the season. The second half, the Purple team really picked up the pace, but our defense did a great job of maintaining the shutout.”
White had already taken four shots when Zingale scored her first goal in the 18th minute.
“The first goal was one-on-one,” Zingale said. “It was me and the keeper and I just chipped it over her head.”
She nailed the second 14 minutes later when she took a nifty pass ahead from Keystone’s Paige Jameson-Foster and found herself alone behind the Purple defense.
The first half was into the 26th minute before Purple got its first shot. In fact, Purple managed three shots between the 26th and 27th minutes, although none was on goal. The third, by Vermilion’s Ali Kowal, cleared the crossbar. Blaze Pratt of Columbia had Purple’s first shot on frame in the 35th minute, but Crooks was up to the challenge.
Purple picked up the pace the second half and got shots on goal from Alyssa Melendez of Firelands and Midview’s Torie Benton. Benton’s forced Crooks to make her most difficult save of the day.
With a little luck, White’s winning margin might well have been greater. Jameson-Foster zinged a shot off the crossbar in the 10th minute and Zingale hit the left goalpost in the 17th.
Jameson-Foster and Amherst’s Olivia Morales also put shots on frame, and Zingale had two more chances for a hat trick, but couldn’t connect. She was right on with a shot in the 71st minute and missed just wide right seven minutes later.
White played under the direction of Oberlin coach Becky Lahetta.
“Our game plan was to maintain control,” Lahetta said. “The other team can’t score if we have the ball. So our main objective was to really use each other as much as possible. Especially not knowing each other’s names very well, it was important to communicate and let them know where you are on the field.”
It worked, despite the fact the players had not practiced together.
“It’s kind of nice if you have a couple girls who are teammates,” she said. “We tried to make sure that, for example, we made sure all the Amherst girls were on the field at the same time. That creates some familiarity out there and they can create the triangles and diamonds.”
At halftime, it was announced that Danielle Dziak of Elyria Catholic, Vermilion’s Kalynn Smith and Emily Peterson of Avon Lake were winners of the Coaches Association’s annual scholarships.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
White 2, Purple 0
GOALS: (W) Kayla Zingale 2 (18th, 32nd minutes)
ASSIST: (W) Paige Jameson-Foster
SAVES: (P) Taylor Ceh 4; (W) Amy Crooks 4
SHOTS: Purple 11, White 12
SHOTS ON GOAL: Purple 3, White 6
CORNER KICKS: Purple 4, White 5
GOAL KICKS: Purple 4, White 8
OFFSIDE: White 2
FOULS: White 2
HALF: White, 2-0