Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Woodlan's Gabriella Werling runs with the ball during the first half against Canterbury at Canterbury on Thursday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Canterbury's Avery Biggs runs with the ball during the first half against Woodlan at Canterbury on Thursday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Canterbury's Mackenzie Wilhelm tries to get past Woodlan's Emma Dellinger during the first half at Canterbury on Thursday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Canterbury's Elizabeth Lombard tries to find an opening past Woodlan's Emma Dellinger during the first half at Canterbury on Thursday.
Thursday, October 04, 2018 10:20 pm
Canterbury girls top Woodlan in soccer sectional semifinal
DAN VANCE | For The Journal Gazette
A young and inexperienced Canterbury girls soccer team had just one win and three goals in the regular season.
That's why Thursday’s early goal was a game changer in the Cavaliers’ 3-0 victory over Woodlan in Class A sectional semifinal play at Canterbury.
It was a freshman who scored the only first-half goal just two and a half minutes into the game. Lena Reelsen ripped a shot from near 30 yards out over the outstretched hand of Woodlan goalie Ana Bullerman.
“It was very important for us to just get the nerves out and slowly but surely build up their confidence,” said Canterbury coach Jennie Crandal.
Woodlan (2-11-3) had a scoring opportunity three minutes later when Madison Werling found Olivia Wilson ahead on the break, drawing out Canterbury goalie Samantha Ko, but Wilson’s kick on the open goal went wide left.
The first half was controlled by Canterbury’s Mackenzie Wilhelm, one of just five Cavalier seniors. Wilhelm made several good run outs in the final 24 minutes of the half, making cuts, crosses, bobs and weaves through the Woodlan defense without being able to convert. Her best shot came with 4:24 to play on a hard shot that popped off the hands of Bullerman.
Wilhelm placed a pass between the legs of Woodlan’s Emma Dellinger with 2:28 to play in the half, ahead to Miriam Dixon who moved the ball back across to Wilhelm, but she was unable to get a shot on goal.
“Mackenzie and Elizabeth [Lombard], our two senior captains, both of them come out with the intensity that we need. Their job this year is to rally around this young team with great leadership,” Crandal said.
“Staying positive has been important and the seniors did that, which is why I feel like we were successful tonight and didn’t crumble.”
In the second half, Woodlan picked up the intensity and controlled the pitch in the opening minutes,yet got only one shot on goal in the first 20 minutes.
Instead, it was the Cavaliers (2-13) striking with 32:11 remaining as another freshman — AnnaBella Brown — chipped in Canterbury’s second goal.
“It showed that we can still be resilient even though we were ahead. I was able to use it as a teaching moment where we cannot be complacent just being up by a goal,” Crandal said.
Brown scored her second goal with 7:05 remaining on a Wilhelm cross pass to Lombard directly in front of the goal. Lombard missed the pass but the ball landed in front of Brown, who slid it in the bottom left side of the Woodlan goal.
Canterbury will play Blackhawk Christian (10-6-2) in Saturday’s sectional final at 2 p.m. The Braves won the regular season meeting a week ago 1-0.
“Our struggle is to always be consistent, so I think our kids are going to come out fired up because we lost to them last week. These guys are hungry,” Crandal said.