SPRINGFIELD — The Watterson High School girls soccer team gave up a pair of first-half goals and couldn’t overcome that deficit in a 2-1 loss to Beavercreek in a Division I state semifinal Nov. 6 at Evans Stadium in Springfield.
The Beavers, who are ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today, improved to 23-0 and will play Strongsville in the state final Nov. 9 at Mapfre Stadium.
The Eagles finished 18-2-2.
“Obviously, Beavercreek’s a fantastic team and well-deserving of being ranked second in the nation,” coach Scott Dempsey said. “Great game from start to finish. Right now, we’re wishing we’d come out a little stronger, a little bit faster at the beginning of the match. It was definitely a state-tournament type of game.”
Marcella Cash scored both goals for the Beavers, who have outscored their opponents 136-5 on the season, including 39-2 in seven postseason games.
Cash, who has 37 goals and 14 assists on the season, gave Beavercreek a 1-0 lead with 24 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first half when her shot from about 20 yards found the right corner of the goal past goalkeeper Annie McGraw.
Watterson missed a scoring opportunity off a corner kick with three minutes left in the first half. Then with 18 seconds left before halftime, Cash scored off a pass from Diana Benigno to make it 2-0.
“We are probably a little bit disappointed we gave up that goal right before halftime,” Dempsey said.
The Eagles nearly scored with 29:40 remaining when Erin Connors headed a shot into the goal, but Watterson was whistled for offsides.
Connors got the Eagles on the board with a goal with 1:05 remaining, but Beavercreek held on.
“We handled (Beavercreek’s pressure) much better in the second half,” Dempsey said. “But when you give yourself a two-goal deficit, it’s awful hard to dig out of it.”
Cincinnati Indian Hill 2, Big Walnut 1
For the second year in a row, Big Walnut saw its season come to an end against Indian Hill.
The Golden Eagles and Braves were tied at 1 at halftime in a Division II state semifinal Nov. 6 at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia, but Anna Podojil scored with 11:25 remaining to send defending state champion Indian Hill back to the state final.
Indian Hill, which defeated the Golden Eagles 4-0 in a state semifinal last season on its way to winning its first state title, improved to 17-2-3 and will face Bay Village Bay in the state final Nov. 9 at Mapfre Stadium.
Big Walnut, which finished 14-3-4, trailed 1-0 before Grace Bodker scored on a penalty kick with 19:29 left in the first half.