MINFORD — The 2019 Minford Lady Falcons — and their eight seniors — will share something this season with the three Ohio girls soccer state champions.
That is, of course, winning their final match.
That’s because, in a Southern Ohio Conference makeup matchup on Tuesday night, the Lady Falcons finished off their season with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Ironton St. Joseph Flyers.
The contest was postponed a pair of times, but because both squads are members of the SOC, the match must be played — and completed.
The Lady Falcons scored a pair of first-half goals in a matter of 11 minutes and 35 seconds, then needed just a minute and 32 seconds into the second half to take a 3-1 lead.
Ironton St. Joseph’s Emma Whaley, on an unassisted goal with 12:11 left in the first half and an assisted marker by Bella Whaley with 12:26 remaining, was the Flyers’ goal-scorer.
Minford maintained a pair of one-goal advantages (2-1 in first and 3-2 in second) for the final dozen minutes of each half.
With the victory, the Falcons evened their final record to 9-9-0 — and finished third at 6-4 in the SOC.
Wheelersburg and Waverly were the conference co-champions, winning on each other’s pitches to wrap up league play at 9-1-0.
The Lady Flyers, first-year members in the SOC, finished at 9-8-1 — and 4-6-0 in the league.
“Glad we were able to finish the year with a win over St. Joseph. The team played very well tonight, moving the ball down the wings and some good crosses through the box. We knew that we needed to somehow contain (Emma) Whaley, who torched us in the first game, so we put senior Amy Shoemaker guarding her the entire game. Amy did a great job of tracking her,” said Minford coach Shane Tieman. “Whaley was still able to break free for a couple of goals, but I’ll take it.”
Emma Whaley went off for a massive five goals in the two teams’ initial meeting, but Minford made it much tougher for her to tally this time around.
Amy Shoemaker and Ali Brumfield, both seniors, were involved in the Lady Falcons’ first-half goals — which also included freshman Haley Knore.
With 30-and-a-half minutes remaining, Shoemaker assisted on Knore’s goal.
Knore then assisted Brumfield at the 18:52 mark, making it 2-0 Minford until a minute-and-a-half into the second half.
That’s when seniors Cameron Spencer and Hannah Tolle teamed up for the final Falcon goal of the season — and their careers.
Tolle assisted Spencer to make it 3-1, as the Flyers found the net again 26 minutes later.
Minford senior goalkeeper Makayla Watters wound up with nine saves, while Gracie Damron of the Flyers finished with five.
The match marked the final for eight MHS seniors: Watters, Tolle, Spencer, Shoemaker, Brumfield, Nikki Haakman, Sarah Bender and Alyssa Coriell.
“Great effort by the Lady Falcons tonight. We will miss this group of seniors. They really taught the rest of the team how to be unselfish and support one another,” said Tieman.
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