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It was a simple strategy for the Columbus East girls soccer team Thursday: Score big early and
then maintain a defensive stronghold.
The Olympians did just that, scoring five goals in the first half of an 8-0 victory against Scottsburg in their first-round sectional game at the Richard Wigh Soccer Complex.
The victory advanced East to the sectional title game against Columbus North at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Wigh complex.
East coach Ilya Schwartzman said the team came out attacking and never let up.
“We came out strong and finished well,” Schwartzman said. “We were aiming for an early lead, and we were able to accomplish that.”
Less than two minutes after the opening whistle, midfielder Sydney Newell put a light touch on the ball to get the first score. Newell dribbled through defenders and easily beat Scottsburg keeper Kailee Lynn.
The second goal for the Olympians (14-2-1) was a gift. Warriors defender Sara Edwards attempted to lob the ball over her own goal but instead cleared Lynn and put it into the net.
East midfielder Hayden Lang scored after a beautiful passing attack led by Molly Connor, who was able to feed Lang, whose shot was good from just outside the box.
East continued its terrific passing, resulting in two more first-half goals. Defen-
der Molly Macy scored with an assist by defender Kayla Halterman, and defender Elisa Watkins scored off a pass from Newell.
In the second half, East forward Rachel Amlung scored two goals within a minute of each other. Those goals kept Scottsburg from thinking comeback.
The Olympians worked their substitutes into the game in the second half.
East finished the scoring with a goal from defender Ella Rohlfs, who scored after the Olympians put a flurry of shots on goal.
On the other end, the Warriors could not penetrate East’s defense and didn’t manage a shot on goal.
Senior defender Olivia Smith said the defense wanted to keep a tight perimeter and close gaps for scoring opportunities.
“We looked to keep strong pressure and keep on top of them all night,” Smith said.
Schwartzman said the team’s confidence is building game by game.
“We have played top-notch teams all season,” Schwartzman said. “We should be mentally and physically prepared for what lies ahead.”
Smith said that the team’s focus needs to continue along the path it’s headed going into the game Saturday.
“We are going to focus to play our game,” Smith said. “We can’t let our emotions get to us, and in order to do that we need to play like we are capable of playing.”
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