BEAVERCREEK — Anna proved it was one of the state’s best Division III teams during regular season. But the Rockets had troubles with what pollsters said is the best Div. III team in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at Beavercreek High School.
Cincinnati Country Day, which was ranked No. 1 in the final Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association D-III poll, controlled the ball throughout the match and beat Anna 4-1 to advance to a regional final against Lehman Catholic on Saturday. The Cavaliers beat Cincinnati Madeira 3-1 on Tuesday in Centerville to advance.
“They’ve been here before,” Anna coach Mike Noll said. “They know how it’s done. This is our first time and it was a learning experience. …They’re a good team. I honestly believe they’re going to win state.”
“Being here is a privilege. I told the girls before tonight, ‘Be blessed and thankful you’re here, and just play your game.’ Once we settled in, we hung with them. I’m very proud of them.”
Country Day (17-2-0) outshot Anna 14-1 in the first half to build a 2-0 lead. The Indians controlled the ball most of the night and were able to work around Anna defenders.
Anna (17-1-2) was ranked No. 3 in the final state poll and will lose four seniors to graduation, including first-team all-Western Ohio Soccer League selections Claire Bensman and Kelsie McKinney. They helped Anna earn its first district championship in school history this year and WOSL titles the last two years.
“They’ve been a key factor to where we’re at today,” Noll said of the team’s seniors. “They’re all strong. They give it their all every practice. They’ve done an excellent job all year and have led the team. They haven’t backed down when it’s got tough. The younger girls look up to them.”
Anna will return the bulk of its roster, including talented juniors that make up most of its starters. Juniors Taylor Noll, Taylor Kauffmann and Michael Ambos were first team all-WOSL.
Noll led the team with 39 goals and 19 assists in regular season, while Kauffmann scored 30 goals and had 10 assists. Hostetler posted 11 shutouts and had 71 saves.
“We’ll be back here next year, I guarantee it,” Noll said. “We’ve been able to take the next step each year. We didn’t win conference (in 2016), and the next year (2017) we did. Last year we didn’t win district, and this year we did. Next year, we’ll win regionals. We’re returning all but four starters. It’s a building thing for us.”
Kate Brock scored a goal to put Country Day up 1-0 with 30:53 left in the first half, then Lawson Renie scored on an assist from Alexandra Pohl with 28:44 left. Hostetler had nine saves the rest of the half, and a couple of Country Day’s shots hit the side crossbars.
Brock scored a goal with 34:49 left in the second half after she dribbled past Hostetler, who dove out of the box. Renie the scored a goal with 29:25 left to boost the advantage for four goals.
Anna scored with 18:02 left when junior Sarah Ham sent a pass from Taylor Kauffmann past Country Day goalie Lilly Reisenfeld into the net. It’s the first goal the Indians have given up in their tournament run.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.