Hawks roll past WashingtonMid-Prairie's speedy forwards were too much for the Demons
WELLMAN — Lightning was about the only thing that could stop Mid-Prairie’s lightning-quick forwards during Tuesday’s Class 1A regional quarterfinal against Washington at Doc Sattler Field.
Mid-Prairie senior Meghan Redlinger had already scored two goals and sophomore Ali Riggan had added another before lightning stopped the match midway through the first half. When the match resumed 30 minutes later, Redlinger added two more goals to finish with four total in the Golden Hawks’ 8-1 victory.
“They had some fast players,” Washington head coach Kyle Collins said. “The Redlinger twins are very, very fast. We tried to stay back a little deeper, but just couldn’t cover them. When we could keep them in front of us, we got the ball out, but if they were past us, that was it.”
Less than six minutes into the match, Riggan found Redlinger on a through ball for the first goal of the contest. Riggan then scored on a pass from sophomore Renee Buckwalter, and Redlinger scored on an assist from senior Taylor Hershberger to put the Golden Hawks ahead 3-0 before lightning brought the match to a halt.
When play resumed, Redlinger scored goals on assists from Hershberger and sister Kattie Redlinger to give Mid-Prairie a 5-0 lead at halftime.
Washington sophomore goalkeeper Stephanie Evans got put in a lot of one-on-one situations in the first half, and although she made 15 saves, five shots slipped by her.
“Most of them were one-on-one saves,” Collins said. “She came out one-on-one, got big and got on the ball. But it’s tough for a goalie to do that all day long.”
The Golden Hawks quickly added to their lead in the second half. Buckwalter scored on an assist from Riggan, and then Kattie Redlinger found sophomore Ashley Miller for a goal. Hershberger scored the team’s final goal when she headed in Riggan’s corner kick. After that, Harris began to substitute liberally and Meghan Redlinger spent the rest of the game on Mid-Prairie’s bench.
“When I pulled her out because she had four goals, she was like, ‘I have four goals?’” Mid-Prairie head coach Bristol Harris said. “She and Ali Riggan played great.”
Washington finally lighted the visitors’ side of the scoreboard in the match’s 80th minute. On a corner kick, the ball pinballed around in front of the Mid-Prairie goal until Evans finally knocked it into the net with 31.9 seconds remaining.
Washington closed its season with a record of 3-12.
“Our girls played really hard,” Collins said. “We’ve got a young team, only losing one senior. We were playing a lot of freshmen who haven’t played a lot of soccer, and they did a pretty decent job. We’re a young team, and hopefully they’ll do some off-season training and come back strong next season.”
Washington’s lone senior, Lyndsay Adrian, worked tirelessly on defense during Tuesday’s match, clearing the ball out time and again.
“I put Lyndsay on defense this season because she had some experience the past four years,” Collins said. “She’s more of a midfield player, but you have to have a little experience on defense to let everybody know what’s going on. She did her best, and I was happy with what she did. She brought a lot to the defense. A lot of the girls looked up to her. Losing a senior who’s been around for four years is always tough. Hopefully she left behind her knowledge to help the other girls out.”
Mid-Prairie (10-5-1) advances and will host Fairfield in a regional semifinal match on Friday.
“This is a great start to the postseason,” Harris said. “To be able to see everything you have been trying to get into the kids’ heads come out on the field is very encouraging.”