The Magnificat girls soccer team went into Thursday night's game against Westlake with intensity and a sense of purpose, attacking furiously and coming out with a 2-0 victory at Read Field.
"We knew this was going to be a tough game," first-year Magnificat head coach Gretchen Micklitsch said. "There's a rivalry between these girls, and we knew Westlake was probably going to come out and be very physical.
"So what we've worked on was to prepare ourselves, not only on the field, but mentally, for games," she added. "We needed to stay focused, and the girls did a good job at that tonight."
Magnificat senior midfielder Jaycie Brown put a Natalie Niehaus free kick off of her head and past Westlake goalkeeper MacKenzie Maynard to put the Blue Streaks ahead just eight and a half minutes into the game.
Then 15 minutes later, sophomore midfielder Anne Ubbing streaked down the left side of the Westlake defense toward into the corner. From there, she peeled off ashot that went upper cross-corner to cap the scoring and give Magnificat the victory.
"Anne is one of our players who can do amazing things, at the right time," Micklitsch said of Ubbing's effort. "Sometimes we like to put her in at key moments like that when we need something to happen, and she comes through for us."
Magnificat, still unbeaten at 8-0, out-shot Westlake 23-6 in the game, tallying 15 shots on
goal in the second half alone.
"The opportunities were there," Micklitsch explained. "We were creating a lot of opportunities, but they'll come. The goals will come."
The fact that all the girls on the Blue Streaks' roster were able to play in Thursday night's game was another source of pride for Micklitsch.
"We substituted a lot, and used both of our goalkeepers," she said. "Every single person on this team contributed to the win in a big way. I'm very, very proud of them for that, too."
The Blue Streaks' starting goalkeeper, Kaleigh Piscioneri, tallied four saves in the first half, while her backup, had one save opportunity. Maynard finished with 11 saves for the Demons.
Westlake head coach Scott Jones was not disappointed with his squad's effort, knowing his team had played games on back-to-back nights.
"We played a pretty hard game Wednesday night and tried to come out and play another one tonight. Mags just got the best of us," he said. "Across the board, they're a pretty good team, and they did what they needed to do to win tonight."
Jones did lament that his offense did not have many opportunities.
"We got beat to a lot of balls," Jones said. "We were just very off tonight. Mags did a great job doing what they needed to do, and we didn't play very well tonight. Our girls know it. I think they can do better, and they know they can do better," he said.
There were a combined 19 fouls in the game, including two yellow cards given in the second half.
The Demons, now 3-1-3, have two tough games coming up. They face Bay on Monday and Southwestern Conference rival North Olmsted next Wednesday.
"Next week is going to be difficult," Jones admitted. "Those are two good teams, and we'll have to play our best to beat them."
Magnificat will be traveling to Strongsville on Saturday to face off against the Mustangs.
"That will probably be our biggest game of the year, so far," Micklitsch said. "They're a top-10 team in Division I. They've lost a few games, but they have a very tough schedule. So, they're always a contender for the state title."
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