Riders Stymie Kenton

St. Marys’ goalkeeper Kiley Tennant blocks a kick from Kenton’s Hannah Holland Tuesday’s Western Buckeye League girls soccer match against Kenton.
Sports Editor

If you want to repeat as league champions, what better way than to beat the team that abruptly ended your season on your home field last year?

In possibly its best all-around game of the season, the St. Marys Roughriders girls soccer team returned the favor against Kenton in a rematch from last year’s Division II sectional final with a 2-0 Western Buckeye League win on Tuesday at Roughrider Field.

Insert whatever noun that seems suitable; revenge, redemption, payback, but more importantly, the Roughriders’ win puts them in sole possession in second place in the league standings with four WBL matches remaining, while also bumping the Wildcats down in the standings.

“I don’t know about revenge, but you can’t win this league without winning this game so you start there and on to the next,” Roughriders coach Nick Wilson said. “We talked about having to bring your ‘A’ game every game in this league. If you take a play off, typically, bad things are going to happen. I was happy at every spot out there, defense again, anytime you can hang a zero, that is impressive.”

In addition to hanging a goose egg on Kenton, the Roughriders’ defense limited the Wildcats altogether with just four shots on goal. 

Wilson added that Kenton’s Hannah Holland was probably the team’s fastest player, but senior Ally Will and company kept her in check. The closest the Wildcats senior got to scoring a goal came when she was one-on-one with Roughriders goalkeeper Kiley Tennant, who slid and stonewalled Holland’s shot.

“They [the defense] just didn’t allow anything to get through,” Wilson added.

St. Marys struck late in the first half when Maddie Rust shot the ball just above the 18-yard box to Kenton keeper Kaitlin Heberling, who initially blocked the shot, but the force knocked her to the side of the goal, as unmarked Madi Anthony punted the ball into the back of the net.

Emma Wibbeler pushed the Riders’ (6-2-1, 3-1-1 WBL) lead to 2-0 on a shot in the middle of the 18 past Heberling at the 22:32 mark.

St. Marys out-shot Kenton 11-4 and Tennant gathered up six saves. Heberling finished with eight saves. Aside from being dominate on defense for a second straight game, St. Marys did not commit a foul that might open the door for Kenton to score, similar to what happened in last week’s 1-1 tie against Shawnee. The Roughriders have allowed just four goals in the last five games and are 4-0-1 during that span.

‘Kenton in the past has been very, very physical and we were anticipating physical with the intent of turning around and walking the other way,” Wilson said.”There were a couple of those where it could have escalated, but they maintained and kept their cool.”

Shawnee remains in first place after beating Van Wert 5-1 with 11 league points, followed by St. Marys with 10 points and nine points each from Bath and Wapakoneta after both won its respective matches on Tuesday.

“Our first main goal is to always win the league, but in this league, that doesn’t always work out that way, so the main overall goal is to continue to get better so we are peaking come tournament time and make a deep run,” Wilson said. “Personally, I have been stuck on the last time Kenton was on this field and I think the girls felt the same way, they felt disrespected on their own field. This was a big one in resetting mentally that you do have control over a lot more than you think.”

The junior varsity game was cancelled on Tuesday.

The Roughriders will host Riverdale at 7 p.m. Saturday.