by Michael Leonard
Tallmadge -- Things were a bit disjointed at times when the Tallmadge girls soccer team hosted Woodridge in the season opener for both teams.
However, in soccer, it's all about taking your chances. In that regard, the Lady Blue Devils did a much better job.
Tallmadge scored a 3-0 win over the Lady Bulldogs Aug. 21 at Rossiaky Stadium. The Lady Blue Devils' ability to finish scoring chances proved decisive.
Woodridge saw plenty of ball possession in the game, but the Lady Bulldogs seemed to fizzle every time it approached Tallmadge's penalty box.
"We went a little more direct," Lady Blue Devils head coach Scott Williams said. "That's kind of our game.
"If the other team wants to pass it around 40 or 50 yards out, that's fine. Once they come towards our box, we're going to close down the space."
Woodridge head coach Jason Allenspach wasn't upset with his team's effort, but he noted his young squad's biggest issue was easy to spot.
"Finishing in the final third," Allenspach said. "We're working on trying to be more creative as well. This was a great test for us. You've got to play good teams in order to get better."
The Lady Bulldogs controlled the opening 10 minutes of the game, possessing the ball deep in Tallmadge territory.
However, the Lady Blue Devils took the lead on virtually their first sustained attack of the game
After Woodridge initially cleared a corner kick, Tallmadge midfielder Eryn Gebacz found forward Sammy Williams at the top of the box in the 16th minute.
Williams turned and lofted a shot over Lady Bulldogs' goalkeeper Tyme Miller and into the net to make it 1-0.
"That was what she was trying to do," Scott Williams said. "Some of the goalies aren't very tall and she's looking to get the shot up."
Miller finished with one save in the first half as she was called to start after Woodridge's starting goalie, Mary Bates, suffered a knee injury in pre-game warm-ups.
Bates came into the game after halftime and finished with five saves in the second half.
The Lady Blue Devils finished with a 12-2 edge in shots on goal, including three shots that hit the post.
Tallmadge doubled its advantage in the 39th minute.
Sammy Williams collected a pass in the box and the ball right into the path of senior Amanda Kilway. Kilway passed a low shot into the net, making it 2-0 at halftime.
The Lady Blue Devils put the game beyond reach in the 57th minute, thanks to a nice sequence of passes.
Sammy Williams found herself some space at the top of the box and fed another nice pass, this time to sophomore Rochelle Haught.
Haught smashed a one-time shot past Bates to make it 3-0.
"That was a great sequence," Scott Williams said. "Rochelle probably has the hardest shot on our team."
The Lady Bulldogs kept working, but they could not find a way through.
Tallmadge goalie Lynn Tucci needed only two saves to preserve the shutout.
"We're still young in the experience category," Allenspach said. "It's only going to get better from here."
Tallmadge was scheduled to entertain Akron Springfield Aug. 23. Results were not available at press time.
The Lady Blue Devils are set to visit Suburban League rival Green Aug. 27 and Stow-Munroe Falls Aug. 30.
Both varsity games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.