John Bruce, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — In a matchup between two of the top girls soccer programs in the Southeast District, defense ruled the day.
And fortunately for the Chillicothe Cavaliers (11-1), their defense was a bit more dominant in a 2-0 victory over Logan (6-3-2).
Coming into Saturday’s match, the Cavaliers had only allowed five goals on the season … for less than half a goal allowed per game. A number that they lowered by only giving up two shots on target, neither of which was truly a high percentage attempt.
Sophomores Jacey Harding, Addie Price, and Carden Cutright, along with goalkeepers Ally Alderman and Kelsi Oyer, eliminated each threat the Chieftains mounted throughout the afternoon for their ninth shutout in 12 matches.
“With the girls in the back, we’ve developed a few team principles, defending, that we make sure that all of the girls know and what the standard is,” Chillicothe coach Tyler Wickham said about his defense, following the win. “We’ve been able to play different girls back there and had success. I think that if we switched our goal scorers and our girls in the back, we would be just as good.”
With a strong defensive outing, all the Cavaliers had to do was tally a couple of goals to earn their 11th win. However, the Chieftains also showed a strong defensive presence through the game’s first 45 minutes of play.
The Cavalier faithful didn’t appear to be worried though, as they knew their offense that came in averaging over 6 ½ goals per game couldn’t be held down long.
And with 34 minutes remaining, they were proven correct when sophomore Gemma Maimone scored her 18th goal of the season on an assist from classmate Ali Mathis. Mathis played a through ball to Maimone, whose right-footed shot just beat the keeper on the high side. The keeper was able to get a fingertip on the ball, but not enough to push it over the bar.
Less than 10 minutes later, senior Addie Erslan — the school’s all-time leading goalscorer — put the game on ice with a nifty left-footed shot from the top of the box into the right-side netting. Maimone was credited with the assist as she found Erslan on a through ball of her own.
“Addie’s the type of kid who can adapt to any team or any group personality wise,” Wickham said of his singular senior. “The sophomores have been able to take some pressure off of her and now she’s able to play her best position, in the midfield.”
For the remainder of the match, the Cavaliers’ midfield controlled the ball for the majority of the time left. Juniors Kailey Doughty and Emma Fromm, with sophomores Paige Huggins, Avery Erslan, and Simone Fleurima, did their job to maintain the lead and guarantee the Cavaliers a victory.
The Cavaliers will be back in action on Tuesday, hosting McClain (6-5) in a key FAC matchup.