CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — Rocky River had its season halted by a tough Walsh Jesuit Warrior squad — in a 12-10 loss — in Tuesday’s Northwest Region semifinal game.
After ceding an early 1-0 lead to the Pirates, the Warriors scored four straight and never looked back. Rocky River battled. The Pirates got close. As close as a one-goal deficit twice in the second half. But the Maroon & White never regained the advantage.
Walsh broke free of a second-half exchange with four consecutive goals scored from the 14:35-mark to the 6:13-mark. That stretch would prove decisive.
“Walsh is a tough team, especially in the playoffs,” said Head Coach Lizz Steinmetz. “We played very hard until the final whistle. I could not be any prouder of this team.”
Rocky River (12-8) took an early 1-0 lead when senior attacker Rachel Solecki scored her 21st goal of the season just 20 seconds into the opening half. Walsh tied the game with an answer at 19:36. For the Warriors, the goal would mark the first of four in a row for the home side. The Pirates wouldn’t manage another score until the 7:55-mark when Natalie Curry stopped the bleeding.
But Walsh won the ensuing draw and planted their fifth of the contest just moments later, at 7:31. The remainder of the half was a 2-for-2 exchange, and Rocky River went into halftime trailing, 7-4.
In the second half, the Striped Buccaneers twice got within a goal of the Warriors — at 7-6 and at 8-7. But a staunch Walsh defense held the Pirates at seven for over nine minutes of game play. During that stretch, the Warriors again tallied four scores in a row. When Lauren Cain netted her second goal of the contest — and her 79th of the season — at 5:57, the Pirates trailed, 12-8. An Ella Nejad goal at 3:06 brought River within three. A Cain goal at 0:33 got the Pirates within two (12-10). And that was the final score beaming down from the scoreboard at Conway Memorial Stadium when time ran out.
A dash through the brackets … and a season … ended by two in a hard-fought road test.
With their win over Rocky River, Walsh (16-4) advances to the final in the Ohio DII Northwest Region brackets. The Warriors will face the Bay Rockets, who defeated Wooster, 14-6, in Tuesday’s other regional semifinal. Walsh heads into that contest with a seven-game win streak in tow.
CANNON FIRE …
RR-WJ SERIES: Tuesday’s tilt in Cuyahoga Falls marked the second River-Walsh meeting of the season (14-11 RR win on March 27). The two programs have been familiar foes over the years. In fact, the two programs have been frequent regional playoff combatants also. Overall since 2012, the Pirates are now 9-4 over 13 games against the Warriors.
NOTABLE: Senior attacker Lauren Cain’s third goal Tuesday marked her 80th of the season. Cain closed out her River career with 204 goals. … Junior midfielder Sam Miller had three goals, five ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers. Miller finished the season with 27 goals and a team-high 103 ground balls.
QUOTABLE: “Our nine seniors will be missed. I look forward to celebrating them and our great season at our banquet.” — Head Coach Lizz Steinmetz
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