WADSWORTH — The Wads-worth girls soccer team entered Wednesday night riding a hot defense and looking to notch a significant victory in hopes of repeating as Suburban League National Conference champion.
The Grizzlies were less than five minutes from locking in their fourth straight shutout when Twinsburg forward Allison King collected the ball in front of the goal and slid it past keeper Jordan Barnhart to lift the Tigers to a 1-0 victory.
The junior’s goal continued one of the best seasons in Twinsburg (12-0, 5-0) history and gave her team a significant advantage over Wadsworth (6-2-3, 3-1-1) with only two SL matches left.
“The league is only one part of it. You have to get through the league games to get to the tournament,” Grizzlies coach Paul Williford said.
“Short memory. We’ve got to get ready for the next game and use it as a learning experience.”
Ranked 10th in the Division I state coaches poll, the Tigers had answers for everything Wadsworth threw at them all the way to the final whistle, when Grizzlies captain Teddi Farson fired a shot on goal from the right corner before Twinsburg senior Hannah Zochowski made her seventh save.
“I’m very proud of how my team played, actually,” Farson said. “That was a very good team and we held our own. I believe we can come back and take this game as a learning experience.”
Zochowski and Barnhart led their defenses in trading plays, stopping shots, intercepting crosses and sliding in just before shots were taken. Barnhart ended the night with eight saves.
“That’s the way a soccer game is supposed to be played — end to end, both teams were working their tails off,” Williford said. “It came down to the one opportunity. They took care of their opportunity. That made the difference.”
Wadsworth had a chance to take the lead about 10 minutes in when junior Taylor Leatherman took her second consecutive corner kick and found senior captain Mia Gambaccini. The forward saw an opening but missed just right.
It was the first of a handful of scoring opportunities that just didn’t click.
“I think we need to move the ball around more on offense and just take our opportunities seriously,” Farson said. “I think we were maybe not going as hard as we could have (on offense), and now we know that we need to take every opportunity we can get.”
Early in the second half, Wadsworth forward Hailey Barfuss, who leads the team with seven goals, tried to run down a pass in front of the goal, but Zochowski slid in just ahead of the junior’s attempt.
Defensively, the Grizzlies did a good job handling the speed and athleticism of senior McKenna Donahue and the other Tiger forwards. Wadsworth dropped the defense back and relied on sophomore Mackenna Blackburn to run down attacks in the middle of the field.
Twinsburg 1, Wadsworth 0
TWINSBURG 0 1 — 1
WADSWORTH 0 0 — 0
T — Allison King, 4:35.
Shots on goal — Twinsburg 10, Wadsworth 8. Corner kicks — Wadsworth 6, Twinsburg 5. Saves — Jordan Barnhart (W) 8, Hannah Zochowski (T) 7. Records — Twinsburg (12-0, 5-0), Wadsworth 6-2-3, 3-1-1). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 1, Twinsburg 1.