As the leaves fall more frequently and the regular season winds down, the Western Brown girls’ soccer team finds itself in the middle of a three-way battle for the Southern Buckeye Conference’s American Division crown.
Entering the final week of the regular season, the Broncos were in a close race with New Richmond and Amelia for first place in the division. The team could go a long way toward helping their own cause with a win over the Lady Lions last Tuesday night.
In a close game, the Lady Broncos battled back in the second half thanks to an Autumn Boothby goal off a free kick that New Richmond’s goaltender attempted to bat out of danger. The ball fell to Boothby, who flicked it over the leaping Lady Lion keeper to tie the game.
New Richmond had scored early in the contest, tallying a goal less than six minutes into the match. The teams battled throughout the remainder of the game, with Western Brown nearly knotting the game up in the first half.
Again, Boothby got her foot on a ball and sent a shot in toward the New Richmond goalkeeper. Instead of playing the ball safely, however, the Lady Lion keeper simply batted the ball away as she dove, giving the Lady Broncos a chance to score on the deflection. There was no Western Brown player in the box to convert, however, and the ball was saved again as it rolled toward the goal.
Western Brown head coach Dan Silvis said his team prepared well for the Lions and knew what to expect going into the game.
“We knew what they were going to do,” Silvis said. “They like to put a lot of players in the middle and drop the ball back before sending it forward to one of their faster players, [senior Maren] Hance. That’s what we were trying to be aware of, them dropping the ball and sending it back forward.”
Silvis also complemented his players’ play in the second half, noting they performed much better after halftime.
“The girls really stepped up in the second half,” Silvis said. “We came out a little flat and they controlled the ball but in the second half we really picked it up and played a little bit harder.”
Senior goalkeeper Danielle Quittschreiber made several saves in the second half, including a diving play in which she knocked the ball away from the Western Brown net. The shot, had she not gotten to it, would have given the Lady Lions a 2-0 lead. Silvis praised her play as well.
“She was awesome in that second half,” Silvis said. “In the first half, she should have had that ball. She made some great saves in the second half. That girl can play like that all season long if she can get her head on straight.”
Amelia and the Lady Broncos squared off Thursday, Oct. 8 in a game that was not finished before press time. A win by the Lady Barons over the Broncos or the Lady Lions in their game against Goshen that same night eliminates the Broncos from division contention.