Three shots per side in the opening minutes provided a slow start Aug. 24 as North Ridgeville and Amherst sized each other up.
Then the Rangers broke the ice.
Danielle Blagojevic made an easy chip shot after a penalty restart 13 minutes and 22 seconds into the half for an early lead.
Ultimately, it was North Ridgeville’s only goal as Amherst turned on the defense, giving the offense opportunities to shoot and score.
“The first 15, 20 minutes was not very good. (It was) very passive,” coach Gary Gonzalez said. “We played Perrysburg the first game. They’re a wonderful team. The effort we gave in that game was top-notch… Once (the Comets) finally started connecting and having a little courage to go at people, they did much better.”
The first Amherst goal came with just over 14 minutes remaining off the foot of freshman Lexi Alston. Three minutes later, senior Emery Hicks put Amherst on top to stay, 2-1.
Sophomore Sydney Clark had four of the seven Comets shots in the first half. Two of those were on goal.
After halftime, the Rangers came out strong but were contained by Amherst’s defense, which kept North Ridgeville spread out and off-balance — though the Rangers had three early shots, they were virtually shut down for the remainder of the match.
The Comets added two more goals for the 4-1 Southwestern Conference win. Senior Kate Anderson took a corner kick from Kamryn Dziak 14 minutes into the second period and drove it to the back of the net. After three shots by Emily Hicks that kept the Rangers busy, junior Helena Medve slammed home the fourth and final goal of the evening.
Gonzalez said he has a very balanced team across the grades. Better, the starting freshmen may provide a strong basis for the season and the future.
“Fantastic freshman class,” he said. “We’ve got a trio of gals, freshmen. They’ve all stepped up and (Lexi Alston, Taylor Pogachar, and Cameron Dumais) all started tonight.”
“And, two or three sophomores as well. We’ve got a good mix of talent from experienced seniors, all the way to freshmen,” he said. “Not only are these young girls very composed, they’re very fast. They can get a goal in a heartbeat.”
Comets goalkeeper Michelle Kissane had three saves in the match. Ranger Logan Dickson had a busier night with four saves.
Photos by Carl Sullenberger | Amherst News-Times Sophomore Sydney Clark had four shots in the 4-1 Southwestern Conference win over the North Ridgeville Rangers on Aug. 24.