GRANGER TWP. — After suffering a couple tough losses and only scoring one goal last week, the Wadsworth girls soccer team came out determined to make the most of its opportunities Monday against neighborhood rival Highland.
Mission accomplished, as the Grizzlies rushed past Highland 5-0 to capture the non-league Medina County contest.
“It was nice to get back on track,” Wadsworth coach Paul Williford said. “The goals were flowing for us, so for them to get their confidence up is uplifting for the rest of the season.”
Wadsworth (7-3-3) rushed to a 4-0 halftime lead.
Just over three minutes in, junior Elena Vukovic collected the ball at the top of the box and blooped a goal over keeper Allie Mazzaro for a 1-0 lead.
“We’ve been struggling to score for a while and to play well as a team,” midfielder Taylor Leatherman said. “I think the (quick goal) really helped to start us and gave us confidence as a team.”
The Hornets (8-4-0) had multiple chances to tie early in the first half. Junior Kalle Hotes charged toward the goal 10 minutes in, but the midfielder blasted the ball right into the stomach of Wadsworth keeper Jordan Barnhart. Off the deflection, Hotes took another shot, but Barnhart deflected that ball away as well.
Senior Jenna Branch drove in and took a looping shot midway through the first half. Barnhart again made the save, one of her five on the night, all in the first half.
“We had the early chances and if we put those in (we’re in it), instead of it heading the other direction,” Hornets coach Bill Zufall said. “We’ve talked about having a fast start all season and tonight when they put the one in it just deflated us.”
Leatherman was next to boost the Grizzlies scoring. The midfielder fired her first goal of the season from near midfield with just over 14 minutes left in the half.
Roughly 10 minutes later, the junior struck again, taking a free kick from 20 yards out and sticking it just under the crossbar to give Wadsworth a 3-0 advantage.
“The job (Leatherman) does for us in the middle is unmatched,” Williford said. “She’s a constant. I rarely sub her if I don’t have to. For her to start punching in goals now couldn’t come at a better time.”
In the closing seconds of the first half, senior Kendall Kraft gathered a pass from sophomore Morgan Dotlich and found the back of the net to give the Grizzlies a 4-0 lead.
Senior Teddi Farson closed Wadsworth’s scoring in the second half, capitalizing off a feed from sophomore Sarah Flaker.
After beginning the season with eight straight victories, the Hornets will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak when they host Tallmadge on Wednesday night.
“These are playoff-type games and we’ve had seven or eight games in the last two or three weeks, so the girls have some tired legs,” Zufall said. “They’ll get fresh and we’ll be ready for the playoffs.”
Wadsworth 5, Highland 0
WADSWORTH 4 1 — 5
HIGHLAND 0 0 — 0
W — Elena Vukovic, 36:49.
W — Taylor Leatherman, 14:19.
W — Leatherman, 3:59.
W — Kendall Kraft (Morgan Dotlich), 0:26.
W — Teddi Farson (Sarah Flaker), 25:55.
Shotsongoal — Wadsworth 9, Highland 5. Cornerkicks — Wadsworth 2, Highland 1. Saves — Jordan Barnhart (W) 5, Allie Mazzaro (H) 1, Olivia Scavuzzo (H) 2. Records — Wadsworth (7-3-3), Highland (8-4-0). Junior varsity — Highland 0, Wadsworth 0.