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Like REO Speedwagon with its 1981 classic hit, the Columbus East girls soccer team did a little of its own “Ridin’ the Storm Out” on Saturday night.
Columbus North came out attacking the Olympians and dominated the first 20 minutes of the sectional final. But the Class 2A No. 20 Olympians weathered the storm, and Molly Macy scored a pair of goals to give East a 2-0 victory for its first sectional title since 2006.
“It’s the best thing ever,” Macy said. “We knew it was coming. We were ready. It was long overdue, we feel like.”
Olympians goalkeeper Spencer Eudy withstood a barrage of Bull Dog shots the first 20 minutes. She deflected a shot from Addy Lang off the crossbar in the 10th minute. North’s Riley Perry then headed a follow shot off the crossbar in the 13th minute.
East (15-2-1) finally took control of play midway through the first half and broke through in the 26th minute. After Danielle Rodgers was knocked down in front of the goal, Macy stepped up and drilled a penalty kick past keeper Charlotte Verbanic.
“I was extremely nervous, to be honest,” Macy said. “But my teammates had a lot of confidence in me, so that really helped me out.”
Eudy came up big again in the 37th minute when she deflected another Lang shot off the left post. The Olympians had a 1-0 halftime lead despite putting only one shot — Macy’s penalty kick — on goal.
East added to its lead in the 51st minute. Molly Connor took a corner kick from the left side that Sydney Newell headed across the goal mouth to a waiting Macy.
“Sydney Newell got a head on it, and I got real lucky,” Macy said. “It was right there, and I just bombed it.”
“Molly was not going to be denied tonight,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “Molly made it her agenda tonight to make a difference, and what a game she played. She was tough, she won a lot of balls and did a phenomenal job.”
The Bull Dogs (13-5) weren’t done attacking, however. Laura Anne Watanabe put a free kick off the crossbar in the 62nd minute. North was awarded a penalty kick in the 66th minute, but Kenadie Carlson’s attempt sailed over the net.
“I thought we came out, especially the first half, and pretty much dominated,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “We had a lot of good play, a lot of opportunities. We just couldn’t get it in the net. (East is) a good team, and we had a little bit of bad luck tonight.”
Eudy finished with seven saves.
“I had confidence in my defense to back me up,” Eudy said. “I had a feeling it would be close because we’ve both gotten better throughout the season. I expected them to come out hard, but I knew we would, too. We had to settle down and play out wide where our strength was. We had to calm down and play our game.”
“We needed to have more communication because the marks were off,” Macy said. “They were able to control the middle. We needed to utilize the outside.”
The Bull Dogs finished with a 14-11 shot advantage, putting seven shots on goal to four for the Olympians. Verbanic recorded two saves.
“North played an excellent game,” Schwartzman said. “I’m not surprised because they’re a very good team. I thought they executed their game plan very, very well.
“We knew that was going to be a tough battle,” he said. “We know they’re a great team with a lot of talent, but our kids played great and played tough. We matched their physicality.”
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