By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — In an evenly matched contest, a bit of tenacity to start both halves and a solid score off a rebound earned visiting Xenia a 3-0 girls varsity soccer win, Wednesday in Greater Western Ohio Conference, South Division action at Fairborn High School.
Junior forward Cheyann McGee drove in from the left side and punched home Xenia’s first goal of the match barely eight minutes into the contest to give the Buccaneers a 1-0 lead.
McGee didn’t need as much time to score again in the second half.
Thirty one seconds in to the second half, McGee hooked a slow rolling shot into the Fairborn goal. It looked almost as if McGee were making a gentle right-to-left pass, or that she were centering the ball in front of the Skyhawks goal. But instead of finding another Buccaneer teammate, or even a Fairborn defender, the ball just kept rolling until it lodged itself into the left corner of the goal.
Thirteen minutes later, sophomore forward Adrianna Winston found herself at the right place at the right time. Xenia teammate Lexie Gibson had just blasted a shot off the left post of the Skyhawks goal, and the ball rebounded out to Winston who was charging in from the left side. Winston got the rebound and bashed the ball into the net for the third and final score of the match.
Xenia coach Jim Lamb said there might’ve been a couple reasons for his team’s Wednesday performance.
“One is that it’s become a rivalry game between these two teams,” he said. “The last three years, it’s become more and more of a rivalry, and so the players really seem to get up for this game more emotionally than the others.
“And the other reason that we’re starting to play well is that we’re finally starting to get healthy. We had a lot of key players start the season injured, and so this is the third or fourth game where we’ve all been back from injuries. So, we’re starting to gel as a team now, where we didn’t have that before.”
Xenia is now 4-7-5 overall, 2-3-0 in the GWOC South.
Fairborn (4-11-0, 0-4-1 GWOC South) picked up its offensive attack in the second half, and had several scoring opportunities.
With 11 minutes left in the contest, Fairborn senior captain Kassie Alig was awarded a penalty kick. She blasted a solid kick toward the Buccaneer goal, but the shot bounced off the crossbar and back into play.
Just before that, Skyhawks Kaitlin Bradley and Lauren Thomas launched shots from the right side within a minute of each other, but both tries sailed wide of the goal.
“I really liked how we played in the second half,” Fairborn coach Keith Rentz said. “We made some changes to our formation, and it took us a little bit of time to adjust to those changes, and that’s where they got us on the second goal. … But after that, we spent most of the half on Xenia’s side of the field.”Rentz said he was very proud of his seniors: goalkeeper Megan Miller, Alig, Bradley, co-captain Jacklyne Woods, and Maranda Lewis.
“This is my third year with them, and I’ve loved being their coach,” he said.
Xenia and Fairborn will now prepare themselves for postseason play on Monday. The 15th seeded Buccaneers open Division I postseason play on the road at sixth seeded Clayton Northmont, while 12th seeded Fairborn is at eighth-seeded Troy.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.