By Josh Brown
BEAVERCREEK — Springfield Catholic Central knocked on the door most of the night.
But the Bulldog defense slammed it shut — giving Milton-Union a chance to break through a barrier of its own.
The Milton-Union girls soccer team got a goal late in the first half from the team’s all-time leading scorer, Kristen Dickison, and goalie Izzy Morter and the defense made that one mark stand up as the fourth-seeded Bulldogs knocked off the No. 7 Fighting Irish 1-0 in the Division III sectional final Tuesday at Beavercreek High School.
With the win, the Bulldogs’ third sectional title in the past four years, Milton-Union (13-5-1) earned a rematch against Madeira in Saturday’s district final.
“This is our third time in four years in the district final,” Milton-Union coach Grudich said. “We’ve been knocking on that door for three years now.”
And while both the Bulldogs and Irish (12-4-1) spent practically all night Tuesday taking potshots at the opposition’s goal, it was one connection between Milton-Union teammates that made the difference.
Sophomore Morgan Grudich stole the ball at the 50-yard line and split the Catholic Central defense with a long through-ball to Dickison for a breakaway chance. And Dickison made good on the opportunity, knocking a shot past the Irish’s goalkeeper to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead with 4:59 left in the first half.
“Morgan and Kristen have played really well together all year,” Grudich said. “They have a great understanding of each other, they move well off of each other and they know what each other is going to do. That gives Kristen that extra jump on the defense and gives her that one extra step behind them. Those two have been that with each other all year.”
It was simply one more tally in Dickison’s amazing season. The goal gave the Southwestern Buckeye League’s leading scorer 38 on the year and 97 for her career. Dickison, a senior, set Milton-Union’s career records for goals and assists this year, as well as breaking the single-season goals record.
“She broke the all-time scoring record, broke the all-time assists record, broke the most-goals-in-a-season record. She’s had just an outstanding year,” Grudich said of Dickison. “I don’t know how you could have a better year. And she’s a great kid, works hard, total teammate. Would do anything to help the team win. She would tell you that she doesn’t care if she scored a goal in the game as long as we won. That’s what she cares about. I’m happy for her that she got the goal tonight and that we get to move on.”
That connection was in effect throughout the night, as both Dickison and Grudich had a number of breakaway opportunities — but that first-half goal proved to be the only one that found the net.
Fortunately, goalkeeper Izzy Morter and the Milton-Union defense was up to the task of keeping Catholic Central off the board. Morter made five saves to post her seventh shutout of the season, and she was aided by a defensive backfield that prevented the Irish from having an truly dangerous chances.
Catholic Central’s best opportunity came on a corner kick try with 29 minutes to play. After an initial save by Morter, the ball bounced around in the box for roughly 20 seconds — what likely seemed like an eternity for the Bulldogs. But no Irish players could get a foot on the loose ball, and the defense eventually cleared it and sent play the other way.”
“You always feel better when you get that second goal,” Grudich said. “We were knocking on the door to get the second goal, but we just didn’t get it. Defensively, though, I thought we were solid. Izzy, Rachel, Kelly, Emily, Annie, Allison, Hallie, all of them in the back did a great job. We handled them. They had some half-chances here and there, but defensively I thought, we snuffed them out. Which was good, because we only got the one goal.”
Milton-Union will now face Madeira in a district final rematch — the Amazons beat the Bulldogs 3-0 last year — Saturday night at Middletown High School.
“I told the girls that we’ve been knocking on the door for three years now,” Grudich said. “It’s time we kick it down.”
Preble Shawnee 2,
Troy Christian 1, 2 OT
EATON — The fifth-seeded Troy Christian Eagles got their second shot at the only team to defeat them this season, No. 6 Preble Shawnee, but the Arrows scored the game-winner 25 seconds into the second overtime period to stun the Eagles 2-1 in the Division III sectional final Tuesday at Eaton High School.
Preble Shawnee (14-3) — which defeated the Eagles 2-0 back on Sept. 27 — held a 1-0 lead at halftime, but Troy Christian was able to get the equalizer and force overtime. After one scoreless overtime period, the Arrows’ Cami Hollon scored the game-winner with 14:35 left on the clock to end the game.
Troy Christian finished the season 14-2-1.
KETTERING — Third-seeded Lehman (12-4-1) had little trouble against No. 8 Greeneview in Tuesday’s Division III sectional final at Dayton Christian High School, with the Cavaliers posting a 5-0 win.
Lehman advances to play West Liberty-Salem — a team that defeated the Cavs in the regular season — in Saturday’s district final at Bellbrook High School.
Spr. Shawnee 0
NEW CARLISLE — After all it has accomplished this season, the Tippecanoe volleyball team will still be looking to earn a little more respect come Saturday.
The top-seeded Red Devils won their 19th straight Tuesday night, sweeping Springfield Shawnee 25-15, 25-8, 25-13 in the Division II sectional championship match Tuesday at Tecumseh High School, earning a rematch against Bellbrook in Saturday’s district final.
Brooke Aselage had 10 kills and 14 digs, Corinn Siefring had nine kills, two blocks and 10 digs, and Rachel Wildermuth had six kills and three blocks to lead the way Tuesday. Izzy Crow had 22 assists, Abby Hughes had four aces and Alaina Titley had eight digs.
Tippecanoe (23-2) took on Bellbrook back on Sept. 29 in the regular season when the Golden Eagles were ranked No. 4 in the state — and the Devils swept them. In the final D-II state poll, Bellbrook was still ranked above the Devils at No. 8, with Tippecanoe ranked No. 16.
Saturday’s rematch in the district final will be at 3 p.m. at Fairmont’s Trent Arena.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.