It was the type of 80-minute performance the North Ridgeville girls soccer team had been striving for all season.
Unselfishness with the ball. Determination to pepper the net with shot attempts. Even some splashes of creativity in the passing game. On Sept. 18, it was all there.
With one win on their ledger through their first seven games, the Rangers welcomed Beachwood in the nightcap of a double-header shared with the boys program, and rolled to a 7-1 victory.
“It was good,” said senior Abby Viancourt, who scored the team’s first goal in the 5th minute and assisted on another 20 minutes later. “We’ve had days where we didn’t have the best turnout, but we wanted to come out today and be really loose and together as one, and we did that.”
Any sense of drama that may have existed at the start of the match dissipated quickly when the Rangers gained possession and proceeded to dominate it. After Viancourt made it 1-0 early, freshman Debi Panagiotou scored in the 8th minute for a 2-0 advantage. Junior Bella Antonio’s goal in the 25th made it 3-0, and the Rangers (2-5-1) were well on their way to victory.
Rosie Fontecchio (33rd) and Jamie Chalkley (39th) added goals just before halftime to up the margin to 5-0. Gloria Blumfeldt (58th) and Antonio (72nd) found the back of the net in the second half to put the match on ice. The Rangers’ seven goals were the most scored in a single game this season. Coming in, they’d scored a total of nine goals in seven contests.
“We were trying to get everyone as many touches as we could,” Viancourt said. “Eventually, we wanted to have everyone touch the ball and see how many passes and combinations we could make and switch the field.”
Against the Bison (0-4), the Rangers attacked the net with 37 total shots – 23 on target. Bison goalie Maya Greller made some highlight reel saves on her way to 16, but was under siege all evening.
“In practice on Friday we worked a lot on possession and using the full width of the field to create space,” Rangers coach Tim Hoffman said. “When the girls did that, they could find space, have a little more time with the ball and stay composed, and they were able to keep possession and get a few goals out of it.”
The victory was the first for Hoffman, a Strongsville native and Ohio Northern University graduate who’d previously been assisting in the boys program. He took over the girls team last week following the departure of Chris Moore. Hoffman was a four-year varsity player and team captain in high school and college, and gained high school coaching experience last year as an assistant at Olmsted Falls.
He also teaches psychology and world history in the North Ridgeville City School District.
“It’s been a little bit overwhelming so far, but it’s an incredible opportunity and something I couldn’t pass up,” Hoffman said. “I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. It’s my first time coaching girls, so it’s something different. But I think we’re all adjusting pretty well.”
The lone blemish on an otherwise great evening for the Rangers came in the 64th minute, when Briahna Golubitsky scored on a free kick to help the Bison avoid the shutout. It was the team’s second shot attempt of the game, and the only one that was placed on-net.
Big tests await the Rangers this week. They’ll host Elyria tonight at 7 p.m. in a Southwestern Conference matchup, then travel to Magnificat on Saturday for a 3 p.m. start.
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