GALION — The fickle hand of fate gives and it takes away. And then sometimes it gives again.
That appeared to be the case for the Galion girls soccer team as they rolled out to a 2-0 halftime lead against Tiffin Columbian on Tuesday, saw that advantage totally dissolve early in the second half, then rallied to earn a 4-3 victory.
Galion’s Adriana Zeger scored two goals and assisted on another. Nicole Noble had a goal and an assist. Whitney Kimble tallied the match-winning goal with just over four mintutes remaining in the second half. Mia Felder and Claudia Volz each recorded an assist for the Lady Tigers.
The win not only gave the Lady Tigers (1-1) their first victory since the 2019 season, it also allowed them to christen their new home complex on a positive note.
“It’s their first win in over a year. They now know how to win a game,” Galion head coach Cole Plumb said. “They’ve never known how to win a game until now. This is a huge step for their confidence and everything else. Hopefully, this builds for the future. … This first win on the new field means everything. It’s a beautiful field and we’re looking forward to playing a lot of games on it. I’m so glad we got that first win.”
Galion cruised to a 2-0 lead in the first 12 minutes of the match. Noble, a holding midfielder who’s new to the school and program this year, etched her name in the annals of Lady Tigers soccer trivia by scoring the first goal on the new home field at the 31:52 mark of the first half. Zeger provided the assist.
The Lady Tigers added the second goal with 28:17 left to play when Zeger found the net for the first of her two goals off an assist by Felder.
“I thought we controlled the game in the first half,” Plumb said. “I don’t think our goalkeeper had any saves in the first half. We controlled it. We had a bunch of shots and it probably should’ve been more than 2-0, but we’re still a young team and we’ll work on finishing and possessing the ball.”
The script flipped immediately after the opening kickoff in the second half, however. Tiffin Columbian scored 3 times in the span of 4 minutes and 26 seconds to grab a 3-2 edge. The first goal came just 26 seconds into the half.
“Second half, we just came out flat,” Plumb said. “The other team got a goal, they got some confidence, but our girls worked hard, they came back to get the last two goals to win the game.”
After the flurry of goals by the Tornadoes, Zeger drew the Lady Tigers even, scoring at the 34:51 mark of the second half to knot the score at 3-3. Volz assisted on the goal. Zeger’s missile into the upper right corner of the net came about a minute after the last of the Tiffin Columbian tallies.
The intensity of play increased late in the match as both sides fought to find a winning goal. Galion goalkeeper Rilynn Keinath recorded a key save with 22:20 remaining in the match, stifling a one-on-one breakaway opportunity.
It was Galion that unearthed the treasure when Kimble ran onto a well-timed through ball from Noble down the left wing. Kimble collected the ball and made a diagonal run into the penalty area then slotted the ball just inside the near post before the Tornadoes goalkeeper could reach it.
Kimble’s match-winner came with just 4:30 to play in the contest and left her head coach with a bad case of nerves down the stretch until the referee’s final whistle sounded to ensure the Galion victory.
“That was her first goal ever,” Plumb said. “She’s a sophomore and we’ve been telling her if she has the opportunity to shoot, go ahead and shoot. I think that’s going to build her confidence a lot more so she’ll take more shots. She has a lot of speed so we like to play her out wide to take advantage of that.”
Galion’s next two matches are at home against Mid Ohio Athletic Conference foes. Marion Harding (0-1) visits the new complex on Tuesday, Aug. 31 for a 5 p.m. contest. Pleasant comes calling on Saturday, Sept. 4 as part of a doubleheader with the boys teams from both schools. The boys play at 10 a.m. The girls match kicks off at noon.
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