Thursday, September 23, 2021

Blue Devils cruise to win in opener

Sometimes all it takes to get a team going is a fortuitous bounce. That bounce went Independence’s way as the Blue Devils capitalized on a handball in the box and went on to defeat visiting Columbia in Monday’s season opener, 7-2.

Molly Dougherty converted the penalty kick in the 12th minute and the Blue Devils added two more goals to take a 3-2 lead into the locker room. They dominated the second half.

“We came out slow for the first 12 minutes and then Molly put in a nice PK,” said Independence coach Bryan Less. “We played very well after that.”

Makenna McGhee scored both of her goals in the first half. The first was a one-touch shot with her left foot off a cross and the second was set up by Paige Westerburg and Alex Adams.

“We had some early chances but fell behind, 2-1,” McGhee said. “I was happy I could finish some nice passes from my teammates.”

Westerburg and Adams both scored in the second half and Independence’s defense did the rest.

“They had a nice player that we completely shut down in the second half,” Less said. “If we capitalized on our new breakaway ability it would have been a much more lopsided score. We only gave up two second second-half The defense is mostly new and settled in nicely. Although we gave up two goals in the first half after that it was completely our game. I was very happy with our ball control.”

Marisa Silvestro, Dougherty, Westerburg and Adams all assisted on goals and Reni Kaiser recorded nine saves in goal.

Josie Lee and Lauren St. Andrew worked well in protecting Kaiser.

“I am very happy with our progress,” Less said. “We still have a ways to go with conditioning and some other areas, but I am very proud of the girls. Josie Lee and Lauren St. Andrew were very aggressive in winning balls in the air from the defensive side tonight.”

The Blue Devils travel to Wickliffe on Thursday.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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