by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Tallmadge -- The Woodridge girls soccer team made the opening statement.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bulldogs, it was Tallmadge that had final say.
The host Lady Blue Devils posted a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Woodridge Sept. 26 at Thomas Rossiaky Stadium. Unfortunately, Tallmadge is no longer unbeaten.
The Lady Blue Devils dropped to 7-1-4 overall and 0-1-3 in the Suburban League American Conference after losing to Highland 2-1 Sept. 28 in Medina.
Against the Lady Bulldogs, who earned a 2-0 win over Tallmadge last year, Woodridge stunned the Lady Blue Devils with a goal a little more than 90 seconds into the game.
But Tallmadge found the equalizer less than 19 minutes later and got what turned out to be the winning goal late in the first half.
"The one thing we didn't want to do is get off to a slow start and give up an early goal," Lady Blue Devils head coach Steve Davis said. "[Woodridge head coach] Jason Allenspach does a nice job with that team. We knew it was going to be a tough game."
Tallmadge dictated the pace for much of the evening, but the Lady Bulldogs struck first.
After sophomore Hailey Ilg's shot hit the crossbar, teammate Gracey Radwany, a senior, got the rebound and poked the ball into the left corner of the net just 93 seconds into the match.
But the momentum shifted later in the evening.
The Lady Blue Devils tied the game on a corner kick less than 19 minutes later.
Senior forward Rochelle Haught took the kick from the right side. Her kick was volleyed into the net by senior defender Ally Warmenhoven, whose boot was ripped into the lower right side of the net.
Warmenhoven wasn't done.
With 3:35 remaining in the first half, junior forward Sara Johnson was fouled in Woodridge's box.
Warmenhoven took the penalty kick and again found the lower right side of the net to give the Lady Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.
"We play very similar to Tallmadge," Allenspach said. "I do believe this is one of Tallmadge's best teams. Give credit to Tallmadge. They are a well-coached team. They [the Lady Blue Devils] settled down after we got the first goal."
While both teams had their opportunities, the scoreboard did not change the rest of the way.
Tallmadge controlled possession for much of the game and had other chances to score. The Lady Blue Devils had a few shots go just over or just wide of the goal.
"We want to keep the ball on the ground and play balls in space, so we can use our speed up front," Davis said.
Woodridge also had some chances.
With about 22 minutes remaining in the game, Radwany dribbled inside the box, made a move and had only Tallmadge sophomore goalkeeper Maria Kisha in front of her.
Radwany smashed a hard line drive that Kisha was able to knock down and keep away from the net.
Radwany's bullet was Kisha's lone save of the match. Lady Bulldogs' senior keeper Mary Bates made five saves.
The win over Woodridge was its second in three day after earning a 3-3 draw with American Conference rival Barberton Sept. 21 at home.
Such a result wasn't what Davis and his players had in mind.
"I think the girls we're pretty upset," Davis said. "We had a sit-down about it and the girls came up with some good solutions. We felt we didn't give Barberton enough respect."
Johnson scored the lone goal for the Lady Blue Devils against the Lady Hornets and Kisha made one save in the nets.
Both teams had three shots on goal. Highland had a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Host Tallmadge posted a lopsided 11-0 win over Akron Our Lady of the Elms Sept. 24.
Riley Chochola had three goals and Johnson had two goals and one assist to lead the Lady Blue Devils.
Haught added a goal and an assist and Amelia Masic, Melissa Speelman, Madison Rearick, Mandi Rinaldi and Alyssa Yamokoski each scored once for Tallmadge.
Lady Blue Devils goalkeeper Maryn Montgomery made one save in the nets.
Tallmadge had a 20-1 advantage in shots on goal and a 3-0 edge in corner kicks.
The Lady Blue Devils are scheduled to entertain Akron Firestone Oct. 3 before heading to Bath Township to play Revere in an American Conference showdown Oct. 5. Both games are set to begin at 7 p.m.