The Tallmadge girls soccer team advanced to Division II district play for the first time in school history after earning a 2-1 victory over Ravenna Oct. 17 at Ravenna High School's Portage Community Bank Stadium.
With the win, the Lady Blue Devils (8-8-1) earned a date with top-seeded Revere in a district semifinal contest Oct. 21 in Richfield. Game time is set for 7 p.m. The Lady Minutemen earned a 3-0 win over Tallmadge earlier in the season.
Just seconds into the second half, Jacquelyn Brown injured her neck after a collision. After spending several minutes lying on the blue turf, she walked off the field under her own power.
Brown returned to the game several minutes later.
And the rest, you can say, is history.
Brown scored the game-winning goal when her corner kick went off the fingertips of Lady Ravens' goalie Harley Ricker with 7 minutes, 23 seconds remaining in the game.
The Lady Blue Devils had possession for the majority of the game and kept the ball in the Lady Ravens' end for most of the second half.
The outcome could have been much worse.
Tallmadge had a ball hit the post on a wide-open breakaway and had several shots stop short of the nets, thanks to the play of Ricker.
The Lady Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead when Sammy Williams delivered a long through ball to Rochelle Haught. Once Haught got to the ball, she beat Ricker with a low liner to the left corner of the net with 20:41 remaining in the first half.
Ravenna (6-8-3) tied the game less than 13 minutes later when Makayla Starks' left-footed shot from approximately 20 yards away found the net.
After that, Ricker and the rest of her teammates had to face a barrage of opportunities by Tallmadge's array of playmakers.
The Lady Blue Devils took a crucial step toward respectability by reaching district play. The Lady Ravens also made some significant strides in 2013. Ravenna won just one game last year.
"We had a lot of games that we're just like this one," Lady Ravens head coach Kim Pischera said. "Last year, we had a lot bigger gaps. Tallmadge has a lot of speed. I wish them luck."
The Lady Blue Devils had a 14-6 advantage in shots on goal and a 6-2 edge in corner kicks. Ricker finished with 10 saves. Tallmadge keeper Annie Drechsler stopped five shots.
For more, see the Oct. 20 edition of the Tallmadge Express.