BY BRIAN BASSETT
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
CONVOY - The Crestview Lady Knight soccer team was the last thing in the way between the Kalida Lady Wildcats and an undefeated season coming into Thursday night's contest at the Crestview athletic complex.Unfortunately for the hosts, Kalida was too strong, and came away with a 6-0 victory to clench the teams first undefeated season in school history.
"(The girls) are all really excited. Tuesday night was our last league game, and we won the league for the fourth year in a row. So, the girls were pretty excited about that. You wonder about an emotional letdown coming into the next game, coming off a high high.
"The girls are just excited. We've had a great year, all the girls get along well. The team chemistry is the best I've seen in my six years of coaching," said Kalida coach David Kehres.
The Lady Knights knew they would have their hands full with the Putnam County League champions coming to town for a non-conference tilt.
"We knew it was going to be a rough one coming in. It was very physical. They're an excellent team - kudos to them. They are a very good passing team. We just tried to pack it in on defense, but it's hard when you have a team that can pass the ball to the foot of their players - and those shots and everything," said Crestview coach Melissa Mefferd.
Kalida struck early in the contest, and shared the wealth as far as production.
Sophomore midfielder Jackie Gardner got the visitors on the board at the 37:27 mark of the first period, and senior forward Summer Holtkamp followed suit less than two minutes later to make the score 2-0 with 35:54 to play.
After a 10-plus minute scoring drought, the Lady Wildcats drew blood again, this time at the 24:53 mark off the foot of senior forward Skylar Basinger. Just over a minute late, junior defenseman Kiersten Recker got into the scoring mix, with her only goal of the game to give Kalida a 4-0 advantage.
"We possessed the ball really well tonight. That's what we've been working on a lot all season long - keeping possession instead of trying to get into a kickball match. We did that really well again tonight," Kehres explained.
The Lady Knight defense held the remainder of the half, however, while their offense tried to gain some momentum. Crestview drove the ball into Kalida territory at the 20:11 mark, as sophomore forward Jamie Moore broke midfield with the ball. The Lady Wildcats cleared, however.
Senior midfielder Clare Mefferd took the ball across midfield at the 10:38 mark, but suffered the same fate as Moore, when the ball was aggressively stolen. The Lady Knights had one last chance with 3:42 to play in the half, but again the Kalida defense held.
"I told the girls at half to keep their heads up, they've only got four goals on us. It's not bad, just keep plugging away. They did, we did the best we could," Mefferd said.
The second half started much like the first, with a quick Kalida goal - this time at the 33:28 mark off the foot of freshman midfielder Brittany Kahle.
The last goal of the match, came from Kalida's junior midfielder Laine Laudick at the 6:10 mark of the game to make the score 6-0, which it would remain throughout.
"We were able to get everybody a lot of playing time tonight, getting ready for tournament, seeing some new looks and trying a few new things. We were able to put some balls in the back of the net, everything worked out great," Kehres added.
The loss drops the Lady Knights to 1-9-2 on the season, the will battle Ottoville at Ottoville next week in the sectional opener.
"I think the physicality of (this game) prepares us (for Ottoville). We know what to expect. We played Ottoville really tough over at Ottoville (earlier this year), they only had one goal in the first half. In the second half we kind of (let up)," said Mefferd.
Kalida awaits the winner of the Ottoville/Crestview game. "We're building for the tournament. You never know what can happen in the tournament. We've just got to build and see what happens," said Kehres.