CLAYTON — The strong winds forecast for the Division II district semifinal soccer game didn’t accompany the predicted rain that did fall on Monday night.
The closest thing came during the first half when a robust gust of goals helped Anna blow past Milton-Union 6-0. The victory was the 15th shutout for Anna this season and extended senior keeper Savanna Hostetler’s state record for career shutouts to 55.
The goals — three by Tanner Spangler, two by Taylor Kauffmann and one by Taylor Noll — started with 26:53 left in the first half and finished with 10:16 remaining at Northmont High School’s Premiere Health Stadium.
Northmont’s large field played to the Rockets’ advantage with their team speed and ball skills. The majority of the first half was played on Milton’s side of the field as the Rockets held the Bulldogs to a pair of shots.
“Once we get our passing down we can really crank them out,” Anna senior Taylor Noll said. “We just have to settle in which usually takes a few minutes.”
Anna, which has outscored its opponents 115-2 this season, moves into the D-II district final 7 p.m. Thursday at Brookville High School. Second-seeded Anna (16-0-1) takes on top-seeded Kettering Alter (16-1-1) for a chance to move into the regional semifinals.
Anna reached the regional semis last season playing in Division III before falling to eventual state champ Cincinnati Country Day 4-1.
“I have confidence we can get it done,” Kauffmann said of returning to the regional tournament. “We work really great out of the back and on the really big fields we have space to run.”
The Rockets put a series of runs on the fourth-seeded Bulldogs (11-5-2) on Monday. Noll made it 1-0 scoring on a cross directly in front of Milton’s goal for a 1-0 lead with 26:53 left in the first half. Kauffmann made it 2-0 with 22:58 left and Spangler made it 3-0 just 52 seconds later.
Spangler hit from about 30 yards out with 16:05 remaining to put Anna up 4-0. Kauffmann scored again with 12:21 for the 5-0 lead and Spangler capped the scoring with the hat trick at 10:46.
Noll added three assists, Kauffman had two and Michaela Ambos added one for the Rockets.
“An assist means just as much to a goal for us,” Kauffman said. “It comes from the back every time. We owe a lot of it to the defense and how they get it up the field to us.”
“We don’t have any selfish or individual girls who think they have to be the player,” Anna coach Mike Noll said. “We have a team where everybody is happy for everybody else scoring. All around I’m blessed with the girls I have and their determination.”
While the offense was denting the net, the defense was denying the same opportunities to the Bulldogs. Defenders Lauryn Wolters, Adriana Ashford, Bre Tribbett and Michaela Ambos combined with Hostetler to help Anna control play.
“Savanna has our back and we have hers. It’s all of us together,” Ambos said. “We help each other and work as a unit. … We talk and sometimes we know each other’s movements so we know where (each other will be on the field).”
Anna’s group of seniors have been playing together since they were kindergartners. Noll was their coach and stayed with them when the girls wanted to play travel ball. When they became freshmen and the high school needed a coach. Noll got the job.
“My dad, he’s been my coach for the longest time. I like it. It’s nice,” Taylor Noll said, grinning. “There’s a little bickering on the sideline but that’s nothing. It’s nice to be able to talk to him about soccer.”
The Rockets’ next conversation centers around the Knights. Alter’s lone loss came 3-1 to Centerville in the season opener. The Knights, who won the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed title, have outscored opponents 64-9 with 12 shutouts.
“We want to go as far as we can, especially with the loss last year,” Kauffman said. “We’re ready to keep going on.”