By JIM METCALFE
DELPHOS - Kalida sophomore Brittany Kahle scored a hat trick plus one Tuesday afternoon at the St. John's Annex, leading a dominating LadyCat soccer crew past the Lady Blue Jays 6-0 in non-league girls soccer action.
"Kalida is a fast, physical, talented team that is going to come at you all day," St. John's coach John Munoz said. "We knew what we were facing because we had played them this summer. What I was disappointed in was that we didn't match them physically; we went away from that. We backed down a little bit. We made a defensive mistake on their first goal and then we made another on their second; we just don't seem to be able to recover.""
Kalida coach Dave Kehres was pleased with his team's effort.
"When you consider we have four injuries out of our 20-girls roster - three of them seniors - I am so pleased with how our younger girls are stepping in and filling the positions," Kehres explained. "We haven't skipped a beat; we keep playing at the same high level as we were. It just shows that the hard work they put in during practice is worth it; they are ready to go."
The LadyCats (7-0-1) scored just 1:31 into the match. Junior start Jackie Gardner tried a 23-yarder that St. John's junior netminder Samantha Wehri (9 saves against 12 shots on-goal) deflected but Kahle got the ricochet and put the orb in the back of the net from in close.
That duo would be thorns in the Lady Blue Jay (4-7-1) side all day as Kahle nearly made it 2-0 at 37:10 but Wehri made the save.
The Jays had their first scoring effort at 34:50 when senior Madison Kreeger fired from 25 yards but sophomore LadyCat goalkeeper Laine Laudick (3 saves vs. 3 shots on-goal) got the save.
She stopped the next one as well - at 29:10 - when she denied a long shot by senior Samantha Bonifas.
Laudick again denied a Blue Jay try at 27:10.
That would be the last real scoring try by the Blue and Gold of the contest, though they had forays into their offensive end.
The LadyCats reasserted command and began to attack the net once more, forcing Wehri to make save after save or else they missed their target.
That is, until 19:52. Kahle got control of the ball at the top of the circle on the left post and let one go; it deflected off a defender and Wehri could not react in time to stop the ball from finding the right side of the net for a 2-0 lead.
At 18:14, Kalida made it 3-0. Kahle took the ball down the left side to near the goalline, then crossed it to junior Makenna Vorst; her 1-touch from eight yards found the right side of the net.
Wehri sat out the second half due to an injury and freshman Carleigh Ankerman (8 saves versus 11 shots on-goal) took over between the pipes.
The Jays couldn't put together any scoring efforts the second half, with the visitors taking all the shots.
The Blue and Gold took away good scoring chances - with Ankerman making a pair of early saves - until 23:40. Off a corner kick from the right side, Gardner made a short pass to sophomore Joni Kaufman, who then crossed it to Kahle on the right post and her 10-yard header found the back of the net for a 4-0 edge.
At 21;22, Gardner again launched a corner kick from the right side but directly found Kahle for her in-close goal and a 5-0 edge.
Ankerman denied junior Lindsey Erhart from 20 yards at 11:10.
The Maroon and White tacked on the final score at 1:35. Erhart took a shot from 22 yards that deflected high off a defender and just off the hands of Ankerman into the back of the twine.
"We had a couple of injuries coming into the match and we had a couple during the match. We decided to sit Sam at the half and give her some time to recover fully; Madison got hurt during the match and we don't know the severity," Munoz added. "Thankfully, we have the rest of the week off to sit down, watch the film and see what we can do to improve. The teams we play, when you make a mistake, they end up with goals."
Kalida host Kenton 5 p.m. Thursday.
"With how we're playing with so many younger girls contributing, it's going to make us better in the second half of this season but especially in the tournament," Kehres added. "These girls are playing with great confidence and as coaches, we're confident that we can put these girls in at any time and not lose anything. When we get everyone back healthy, our depth will really be important."
The Jays host Miller City Monday at 5 p.m.