By John Bombatch
RIVERSIDE — When there’s a girls high school soccer battle between a pair of talented neighborhood rivals going on, a little bit of momentum can go a long way.
On Monday night, a corner kick goal by Taylor Ullrich in the 26th minute of the first half seemed to give the visiting Beavercreek Beavers (1-1) all the momentum they needed. Beavercreek took that momentum into halftime, then scored three more goals in the second half, to claim a 4-0 win at Carroll’s Patriot Stadium.
“When the game first started, Carroll did a really good job of putting pressure on the ball. We didn’t move it very well, but a lot of that was because they didn’t give us much time,” Beavercreek coach Steve Popp said. “As the half went on, we started to adjust a little bit better, and that gave us a few more opportunities to get forward and get some better chances.
“It took about midway through the first half in order for that to start to happen, though.”
Ullrich scored off Megan Barton’s corner kick from the left. She launched her shot from about 25 yards out into the left side of the Carroll goal. Beavercreek had two more corner kick opportunities in the closing five minutes of the first half. In both cases, Diana Benigno got off scoring attempts.
Her second try clanged off the cross bar before Patriots goalie Taylor McCarthy could grab it. They were two misses, but it seemed apparent that Beavercreek was gaining confidence and momentum.
Carroll coach Sarah Flach said the first Beavercreek goal definitely turned the game’s momentum in the Beavers’ favor.
“Emotions are always high in a Beavercreek-Carroll game. They’re right down the street, and a lot of the kids play club soccer together. Emotions were high, and I think the wind kinda got knocked out of our sails a bit when they scored that first goal,” Flach said. “Beavercreek came at us hard and fast, just like we knew they would.”
Flach said Abby McNamara’s early first-half scoring attempt almost turned the momentum in Carroll’s favor. She said it was a “great shot” that could’ve set the pace for her team. The coach also credited freshman Alania Casey with a solid performance in her first Beavercreek-Carroll battle.
“A freshman playing in her first Beavercreek-Carroll game, I thought she played a phenomenal game for us tonight,” Flach said.
Where the two rivals appeared to share moments of aggression in the first half, Beavercreek seemed to spend more of the second half on the attack.
Not quite seven minutes into the second half, Marissa Ashbrook kicked a shot from the left side that caromed off the top of the crossbar and into the Carroll goal, for a 2-0 Beaver lead.
Ashbrook got off a low roller into the left corner of the Carroll goal roughly four minutes later to put Beavercreek in command 3-0.
Benigno then capped off the night with a left-to-right shot into the goal with just over a minute left to play.
Benigno, Burton, Taylor Harlow and Meredith McGee were each credited with assists in the win.
Monday’s win marked just the second time in the last 12 meetings that the outcome was decided by more than a two-goal margin. Carroll (2-1) won the annual battle a year ago, 1-0, but Beavercreek has now won five of the last six matches.
Beavercreek will play its home opener at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31 against Miamisburg.
Carroll will play its first match of Greater Catholic League Co-Ed action that same day, when they’ll host the Badin Rams for a 7 p.m. match.