WEST MILTON — You’ll have to excuse Lehman Catholic High School senior Noelle Dexter for crashing Milton-Union’s party on Tuesday night.
Dexter, who lives in Troy, played select soccer with and/or knows about half of Milton-Union’s starting lineup, in addition to others on the roster. She attends church in West Milton with some of those same friends. So when Milton-Union hosted Senior Night, Dexter seemed almost like an honorary member.
“It’s fun,” Dexter said. “We chit-chat back and forth (during the game). I’m down there taking a corner kick and we’re like, ‘Hi, how are you?’ The next minute we’re shoving elbows into each other.”
Dexter delivered the final blow with 10 minutes left in the nonconference game Tuesday. Her boot into the upper left corner of the net from senior Lindsey Magoteaux’s assist gave the Cavaliers a 3-2 victory over the Bulldogs.
“I just kicked it. Honestly, it was a great ball and all I had to do was put it in the back,” Dexter said.
The victory followed Lehman’s first loss this season, a 3-0 setback to Cincinnati Mariemont on Saturday. Mariemont is ranked No. 7 in Division III in the first state poll from the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association. Lehman (6-1) is ranked No. 10.
Milton-Union (3-3) led 13 minutes into the game on senior Morgan Grudich’s score. Lehman just missed tying it two minutes later when sophomore Ella Black’s shot bounced off the crossbar.
Black got another shot — this one off a penalty kick — with 12:46 left in the first half. Magoteaux dribbled into Milton’s penalty box and fell after a Milton defender made contact from behind to set up Black’s kick. She delivered for her fourth goal.
Magoteaux netted her team-leading 11th goal when she beat Milton’s keeper with 5:55 remaining before halftime for the 2-1 lead. Magoteaux controlled a long pass and with Milton’s keeper inches from her foot, booted it in from about five yards out. Magoteaux ended up hurdling over Milton’s keeper and tumbled into the goal, too.
“It was definitely a physical game,” Magoteaux said, “and especially being their Senior Night we knew they were going to come out hard. I was telling my teammates at the beginning of the game we had to come out hard.”
The Bulldogs tied it three minutes into the second half on freshman Rachel Jacobs’ score in traffic. Jacobs’ goal gave her a team-leading seven, breaking a tie with Grudich.
Lehman bounced another shot off the crossbar and both Lehman keeper Heidi Toner and Milton’s Maddie Winemiller made goal-saving stops to set up the late drama. Toner went to the ground to deny Milton with 25 minutes left and came out of the net a minute later to deny another Milton scoring opportunity.
Both teams had solid chances before Dexter made her eventual game winner. She broke into a smile and clapped her hands before her teammates caught up to her to celebrate.
“I was excited. Usually I don’t celebrate goals but that one, I’ve played with a lot of (the Milton-Union girls),” Dexter said.
“It was perfect. I can always rely on her,” Duncan said. “When the game is needing something she can pull it out.
“I thought it was a really good performance from the girls given the fact that this is a very good Milton-Union team. We’re struggling with our numbers and injuries so I thought the girls played well with what we were given.”
Lehman has 21 girls on the roster, so conditioning and avoiding injuries are key for the Cavaliers. They put their stamina to the test — especially a defense led by seniors Evie Olding and Anna Cianciolo — the final 10 minutes as Milton’s offense made a final push for the equalizer.
“We knew after (the Mariemont loss) we had to kick it back in gear for the rest of the season,” Magoteaux said. “Toward the end of the game we really pulled it together.
“It’s definitely hard when we have injuries on this team. We lost a lot of good players from last year. We just have to work in practice and come together. I’m proud of how far we’ve come and how we’ve developed over the last couple of months.”
Lehman is scheduled to host Allen East on Thursday. The team then gets a break before traveling to Cincinnati Summit Country Day on Sept. 19.
“Rough, physical. We’re getting used to these types of games,” Duncan said. “We’ve had about seven games in 20 days. Just trying to get through these last two where we get a week off and get some of these injuries and all these girls healed back up.
“I like where we’re going. Each game we’re getting better. Each game we’re getting better. That’s what I’m seeing from them.”