ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Rocky River closed out its regular season with a 5-0 victory over Parma on Wednesday.
Rocky River (13-3, 4-2 Great Lakes Conference) took control of the match from the outset, but a tenacious River attack didn’t land a goal until the 28th minute when Olivia McDonald weaved through traffic left of the goal and delivered a nifty cross to the doorstep. Samantha Miller handled the ball and tipped it to Maya Patti in close quarters. Patti banged it into the nylon behind the Parma goalkeeper for the first goal of the contest.
Less than a minute later, off a thieved kickoff possession for the Redmen, the ball found McDonald who raced down the middle of the field with two defenders in her wake. McDonald deked the Parma ‘keeper and slipped her 12th ofthe season over the goal line and into the net.
Patti scored her second of the match in the 32nd minute when she bolted forward to receive a well-placed 25-yard cross from Lizzie Hamker. The freshman playmaker sent an equally well-placed shot over the ‘keeper’s right shoulder and into the left side of the net.
The match went into halftime without the Pirates allowing so much as a shot. In a 40-minute session on the heels of a pregame Senior Night ceremony, three senior defenders – Maddie Anderson, Bridget McCue and Addy Zenko – were key in routinely thwarting any Parma business at the River end of the field. The daughters of Jim Anderson and Jenny Kinley and of Brian and Kim McCue were in on numerous possession reversals throughout the first half and the match. Both were also a positive force for the Pirate offense on sideline throw-ins, and McCue would notch an assist on the evening. The daughter of Greg and Cheryl Zenko was active across the breadth of the midfield, adeptly setting up a slew of Pirate possessions at the other end.
The net result of all the fine veteran work throughout the first 40 was Rocky River outscoring Parma, 3-0, and outshooting the Redmen, 15-0.
In the second half, the Pirates added to their advantage with goals from Samantha Miller – on the doorstep in the 43rd minute – and from McDonald, who beat the Parma netminder on a one-on-one after receiving a pass from McCue. With her two goals on the night, the daughter of Harry and Debbie McDonald upped her career total to 40. She passed Emily Soltes (2012-15) and moved into sixth place on River’s all-time goal-scoring list.
The home-field win sends Rocky River into the postseason on a four-game winning streak. Since Sept. 2, the Pirates have won 11-of-12, and over that stretch they’ve outscored foes, 44-5. Rocky River is now 8-1 at home, and the Pirates will host at least one more match at Rocky River Stadium this season – River will host Firelands in next week’s district tournament (Oct. 18, 7 p.m.). The Pirates are the No. 3 seed in the tournament, one of four in Division II, Region 6.
Rocky River’s 4-2 mark over a half-dozen GLC matches places the Pirates third in the final team standings. Bay Village finished off a 6-0 league campaign on Wednesday, and the Rockets have now won three straight GLC titles. With a winning percentage of .813, the 2017 Pirates currently own the fifth-best record in program history.
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[photo credits: Kent Klodnick]