For the first half of Saturday’s girls soccer contest between Magnificat and North Ridgeville, little separated the two state powerhouses. In a constant battle for possession, neither team forced unnecessary shots nor did either defense allow easy looks. This led to a 0-0 tie by halftime.

Thirteen minutes into the second half, however, the Blue Streaks found their opening.

After fighting a staunch Ridgeville defense all game, Magnificat senior captain Elizabeth Bebie let loose a shot from about 30 yards out that looped over a leaping Sarah Miller to give the Blue Streaks a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes later in the 63rd minute, Julia Kure scored another to secure the 2-0 victory for the host Blue Streaks.

Bebie said she knew she was going to have to make the most of that opportunity after seeing Ranger defenders stacked in the box. Magnificat assistant coach Nicole Nanchoff echoed that sentiment, praising both North Ridgeville’s defense and Bebie’s impressive shot.

“The Rangers have a strong defense. They’re a compact team so it’s hard to break them down,” Nanchoff said. “We were struggling trying to get through them but once Lizzie found the ball on her foot, she was able to chip the goalie and it gave us a great bit of energy to propel us forward and get us another goal.”

One of Magnificat’s big goals coming into this game was to limit the damage forward Maddy Rosado did. The senior transfer from Lake Ridge Academy has netted 12 of the Rangers 30 goals this season, tied for the team lead with freshman Bella Antonio.

The Blue Streaks (7-1-1) were largely successful in that task as Rosado rarely had the ball until near the end of the game.

“We knew she had speed and she’s definitely their go-to player so we matched her up with one of our speediest,” Nanchoff said. “We focused on our game too. We knew they had players going forward but our defense is strong and we were able to get the ball down and passed away from her and we could go forward.”

North Ridgeville (7-2, 4-1 Southwestern Conference) coach Chris Moore said he was happy with the way Antonio led the offense with Rosado shut down.

“This is a good game for (our team), a good test for them to see where they measure and where they’re at. I thought they handled it very well,” Moore said. “(Antonio) doesn’t play like a freshman. She has an uncanny ability to get into the right positions and is not afraid to take other players on one-v-one which is a very unique high school ability for a player to have.”

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Rangers. North Ridgeville will play host to Westlake tonight at 7:00 and will play at Saint Joseph Academy at the same time on Monday.

Despite the loss, Moore is confident his team will be able to rebound and learn from this game.

“Our focus is (treating) these non-conference games as works in progress or tests to measure where we’re at,” Moore said. “It’s great to play and win games but you need to play teams like this because if you want to be considered one of those teams, you have to play those kinds of teams.”

For Magnificat, the victory marks its seventh in a row without a loss (the Blue Streaks tied Saint Joseph Academy 2-2 Thursday). The team is now off until Saturday when it will travel to Perrysburg to take on the Yellow Jackets at 5:00 p.m. before going to Avon Lake at 7:00 p.m. Monday.

Contact this reporter at jkopanski@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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