AKRON — Woodridge girls soccer coach Jason Allenspach said his team had been suffering a lack of confidence prior to its game Thursday at St. Vincent-St. Mary.
That included the Bulldogs’ last Portage Trail Conference Metro Division game, as Woodridge dropped to 3-3 in the division Tuesday with a 2-1 loss at Norton. That loss set off a sprint to the finish for the Bulldogs, as Woodridge was set to play five games in a seven-day stretch.
Woodridge traveled to Green Street Stadium in Akron and played a game that was a tale of two halves — but the Bulldogs had the better half.
Down 1-0 at halftime, two set pieces allowed the Bulldogs to turn the game around and win 2-1. Woodridge improved to 6-6-1 on the season, while the Irish dropped to 10-4.
"We definitely needed this one," Allenspach said. "If this had been a loss or a tie, it would have been hard to take. This will give us a push heading into the last week."
"I would say that every game has an element of luck to it," he added. "Luck was a bit on our side tonight."
The Bulldogs played well for the first 20 minutes of the game, but had problems penetrating the Irish’s defense, which employed a high press and a sweeper.
"We got sucked into playing the game style we didn’t want to play," Allenspach said. "We’ve got this wide field and everything was between the numbers."
As a result, the Bulldogs had only one shot on goal in the first half, which came on a long-range effort from Hailey Ilg.
St. Vincent-St. Mary took the lead on their first good chance of the ball game. Off a corner kick in the 27th mintue, Irish junior Carly Tersigni sent a ball into a crowded box.
Sophomore Abby May found room inside the box and shot the ball through the crowd and into the net.
Down 1-0 at the half, Allenspach implored his team to play the ball wide. The result was a much better second half, which saw the Bulldogs outshoot the Irish 4-0 in shots on goal.
in the 53rd minute, the ball finally bounced Woodridge’s way. On a free kick from about 40 yards out, Bulldog senior Emily Austin teed up the kick, aiming the ball to the back post.
The ball went through the legs of Irish goalie Perrin Morgan and went in, making it 1-1.
Morgan and Woodridge goaltender Caitlin Raid each had three saves on the night.
Another bit of good fortune gave Woodridge the lead in the 72nd minute, as a handball in the box by the Irish gave Woodridge a penalty kick.
Senior Megan Anderson stepped up and hit a perfect shot into the upper left corner to make it 2-1.
"I think she’s accounted for 50 percent of our goals," Allenspach said. "Megan Anderson might be the best player in our area."
The Bulldogs were scheduled for an early morning contest at Nordonia Saturday
Woodridge was set to close out its home schedule by hosting Normandy Monday at 7 p.m. before closing the regular season at Akron Springfield Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_RPC