By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Bay High School girls soccer team went into Rocky River Stadium on Oct. 10 with a chip on its shoulder.
The Rockets have gone winless at Rocky River over the past couple of seasons, but the curse has been broken as Bay shut out the Pirates 2-0 and captured the West Shore Conference title.
“I told (the team) back in the summertime, that this is a team that can go far,” Bay head coach Jack Griffiths said. “We really don’t have a ton of superstars with egos. They played well, and we’re not done.”
The Rockets’ defense dominated in the game, and goalkeeper Margaret Francati posted her 12th shutout of the season.
“I think that (Rocky River) is good competition,” Bay defender Marcy Walter said. “I think both teams played really well. It was nice to get a shutout after they beat us twice last year.
“We’ve been waiting for this game for an entire year, now.”
“It was a whole new atmosphere (tonight),” Francati said. “We went out there – instead of fearing the (Pirates) – we went out there knowing we were favored in the game, and with that, we worked off that positive momentum, and took it to them.”
Bay senior Alex Brown scored the winning goal with 16:51 left in the first half, but there was still a lot of game yet to be played.
“When we got that first goal, it was just relief,” Francati said. “We could settle it down a little bit in the back, and once we got that second goal, we knew it was ‘in the bag.’”
The second goal was scored by Nicole Pohlkamp with 29:58 left in the game, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Pirates.
“This is so exciting,” Brown said. “We all worked our butts off, and we all wanted this. We haven’t won on this field in so long. It was so great, as a senior, to finish off the year with a win over (the Pirates), and a 2-0 win at that.”
The victory gave the Rockets a record of 14-1-0, while the loss gave the Pirates a record of 13-2-1.
“You know this is tough, because that was their first shutout against us,” Rocky River head coach Patrick Hopkins said. “A lot of that came down to that fact that we didn’t create enough (scoring) opportunities, and the opportunities we did create, we didn’t capitalize on them.
“I feel we controlled a good portion of the game with our passing, but they just kept going after the counter,” he added. “We just had two mental lapses, basically.”
No. 2 seeded Bay will start the postseason tonight at home against Vermilion, while the No. 1 seeded Rocky River will play at home against Keystone. Both games are at 7 p.m.