By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — Fairborn coach Keith Rentz’s plan was to have his Skyhawks girls soccer team put as much pressure on the visiting Trotwood-Madison Rams players as they could, create some Rams mistakes, and then take advantage of those mistakes by scoring some goals.
That’s never very easy to do, especially against an athletic squad like Trotwood, but Fairborn worked Rentz’s plan to near perfection Wednesday night in a 5-0 Greater Western Ohio Conference, American East Division home win.
“I’m really happy with this win,” Rentz said. “We’ve kinda had a rough first half of the season, with some injuries and we came out flat in some games, but I just told the girls that this is a good chance to start the second half of the season on a better note and to work forward.”
Lauren Thomas scored two goals, Regan Diehl scored a goal and had two assists, while Dani Dierker and Daleanna Abboushi also scored for Fairborn (2-6-1, 1-4-0 GWOC American East). The win awakened a Skyhawks team that hadn’t scored a goal in their previous four matches. They’d been outscored 22-0 during that span.Thomas leads the entire GWOC American East division in scoring with 11 goals, but she hadn’t scored since the team’s 6-1 road win over Springfield back on Aug. 29.
“Early on, Lauren played as a forward for us and had a couple hat tricks to start the season. Since then, because of injuries we’ve had to move her around in the lineup. That, and our opponents took note of her impressive start and paid a lot more attention to her defensively,” Rentz said. “So it was really good to see her get back involved in the scoring for us. That was nice to see.”
Trotwood-Madison (1-5-3, 1-4-2 GWOC American East) had won or tied its last three contests, but coach Marjory Thornton said she wasn’t real happy with her team’s level of play Wednesday night.
“I think the team is definitely making some improvements, but we just didn’t seem ready to play today,” she said. “One of our stronger defenders didn’t play because of some school commitments, and it had an effect on us today, I think. We’ve been having some issues with scoring, and you definitely saw that tonight as well.”
The Rams’ Alana Ward entered the game as the division’s best goaltender with a save percentage of 92 percent (Fourteen goals against with 172 saves in eight games). She collided with Abboushi on one Skyhawk score, and had to sit out a few minutes, but later returned to the game.
Fairborn’s goaltender, Brooke Mullins, is fourth best in the division with a 76 saves percentage (27 goals against, 84 saves). Rentz credited her and defenders Abby Knaub, Morgan Cleek, Hannah “Jimmie” Johnson and Taryn Foster with nabbing the team’s first shutout win of the season.
Fairborn next plays at 11:45 a.m. at Stebbins High School in Riverside. Trotwood-Madison is back in action Monday when they’ll play a 5 p.m. contest on the road against Dayton Stivers.
“Tonight was our first GWOC American East win, and Stebbins is up next,” Rentz said. “We hope to come out with the same level of aggressive play in hopes of getting another divisional win.”