Nordonia girls soccer warms up for playoffs with win over Streetsboro
STREETSBORO — It might be weird to say in the midst of a pandemic, but for the Streetsboro and Nordonia girls soccer programs, these are the good old days.
The Rockets received their first state rankings in school history this year. They also share the Metro Athletic Conference lead with Norton and were voted the top seed in the Division II Northeast district for the playoffs.
Nordonia's season has been nearly as successful, with the Knights earning the No. 5 see in the Division I district voting.
When Streetsboro welcomed Nordonia Oct. 15, the Rockets were looking to notch one more accolade by finishing its first undefeated regular season in school history.
The Knights had other ideas.
On a rainy evening at Quinn Field, it rained goals early, as the two teams combined for six goals in the game's first 18 minutes. Nordonia got the better of that exchange, as the Knights scored a 5-2 win.
Nordonia improved to 13-3 heading into the playoffs, which coach Les Gicei believes is a school record for wins. Streetsboro finished the regular season at 12-1-3.
Giecei joked that he had the over/under at eight goals for the game, as he knew the contest was likely to be a shootout.
"In the first 20 minutes, we did a good job moving the ball around," Gicei said. "We've been working on that in practice and it was good to see it come forward in the game. I was a good matchup for us. Streetsboro is a good team.
The game figured to be a showdown between the team's two top scorers: Nordonia's Sam Wiehe and Streetsboro's Emma Flick. Both stars shined as Wiehe finished with a hat trick and an assist, while Flick had two goals.
"We knew about Sam. We've played her all four years she's been here," said Streetsboro coach Ryan Willard. "She's a great player and we knew we had to keep her in front of our defense. We struggled with that early on."
Williard noted he went deeper into his bench than usual as he wanted to get some players healthy for the postseason. Also, Streetsboro was without starting goaltender Allison Laudato in the first half, as she competed with the Rocket cross country team earlier in the afternoon.
Rocket backup goalie Heidi Timmons was given a rough welcome by the Knights, as Nordonia's first four shots on goal all found the net.
Flick started the scoring in the fifth minute, as he ran past a pair Nordonia defenders before sliding a slow shot past Knight goaltedner Lyndsey Beattie.
However, Wiehe would answer in the sixth minute, as she worked a give-and-go with Grace Koperna before slotting it home.
Nordonia took the lead with two goals in the 10th minute.
First, Wiehe took a free kick from about 30 yards out and launched the ball into the upper net. Then, Kopera sents a perfect ball across the face of goal to find junior McKenna Kovach open on the back post for a goal.
Flick was able to answer for the Rockets in the 14th minute before the chipping the ball over Beatty and into the net.
"Emma's so dangerous when she's able to run with the ball," Willard said. "She just gets it and goes. That's what she dose."
However, Nordonia restored its two-goal advantage in the 18th minute, when Wiehe found Koperna open in the box and Koperna put a low shot into the net.
Both team's tightened up their defenses after the early onslaught, as Wiehe and Flick drew plenty of attention.
"We made some adjustments at halftime," Gicei said. "It wasn't really man marking, as we were in a zone, but every time [Flick] touched the ball, we had someone on her."
The offense slowed in the second half, except for another moment of brilliance from Wiehe in the 56th minute. Wiehe was able to dribble around and throw the Rocket defense before firing a shot past Laudato to complete her hat trick.
Nordonia finished with a 9-3 edge in shots on goal, while Streetsboro had a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.
Both teams received a bye to start the playoffs. Nordonia will open the postseason by hosting the winner of the Boardman-Massillon Perry game Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, Streetsboro will open the Division II playoffs by hosting the winner of the Alliance-Struthers game Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.