BARBERTON — One of the major goals for the Tallmadge girls soccer team was to get a coveted Suburban League American Conference win.
Unfortunately, the Blue Devils have one chance left.
Tallmadge fell to 5-7 overall and 0-5 in the conference after losing to host Barberton 2-1 Wednesday at Rudy Sharkey Stadium.
The Blue Devils, who lost their third straight game, have just one opportunity left to get a conference win. They are scheduled to host Highland Oct. 9 at Blue Devils Stadium.
The Magics, on the other hand, picked up their first conference victory in 2019. Barberton improved to 7-4-3 overall and 1-4 in the conference.
Tallmadge head coach Steve Davis didn’t mince words after the game. His team has made major strides throughout the season.
But Wednesday was not a step in the right direction, according to the Blue Devils head man.
"We didn’t do enough," Davis said. "We’re just not consistent. We’ve had some good games. We played well against Ellet; we played well against Revere.
"Even though we lost to Revere, we played good soccer from start to finish. We worked hard. This was one of those games where we just didn’t play well."
The Magics scored two second-half goals to take control. Tallmadge finally got on the board late in the game and made a furious rally to salvage a draw.
But it was not to be.
"The other team set the tempo," Davis said. "We didn’t match the tempo. We couldn’t connect passes. I thought the other team played very direct. We tried to knock it around, but you can’t knock it around if you can’t complete a pass."
Barberton made it 1-0 when Megan Schanz found the net after receiving a cross from Makenzie Damsa with 24:44 remaining in the game.
Damsa sent a cross to Schanz, who poked the ball into the net from the middle of the field.
The Magics didn’t need a cross to make it 2-0 with a hair less than 10 minutes left.
Maliyah Shifferly blasted a shot from long range over the outstretched fingertips of Tallmadge goalkeeper Maryn Montgomery.
Kate Hussing got the Blue Devils on the board when she ripped a left-footed shot from the left side into the opposite corner of the net with a little less than five minutes left.
Tallmadge turned up the pressure and had a couple of shots by Hussing go just wide of the goal.
Alas, the Blue Devils couldn’t sneak another ball into the net.
Both teams finished with nine shots on goal and four corner kicks. Montgomery finished with seven saves. Barberton goalie Sylar Ramsey stopped eight shots.
"It’s frustrating because we have moments where we can be a good team," Davis said. "I’ve seen us play better.
"They want to succeed. We, as a team, just have to improve on a bunch of different levels. It’s work rate; it’s technique; it’s decision-making. It’s a lot of things."
The host Blue Devils lost to Alliance Marlington 5-1 Sept. 28 at Blue Devils Stadium. Natalie Onchak scored the lone goal for Tallmadge on a free kick. The Dukes, who led 2-1 at halftime, had a 13-7 advantage in shots on goal and a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.
Montgomery and backup goalie Ellie Hudak finished with five and three saves, respectively.
There is still time for Tallmadge to its fine-tune issues. Davis is confident his team can make the necessary repairs.
At the same time, though, he’s having a hard time forgetting about the past. All in all, Wednesday was a rough evening for the Blue Devils. And Davis was in no mood to sugarcoat his team’s effort.
"This was a game we thought we could win," Davis said. "I thought this game was a winnable game and we didn’t come to perform."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.