Thursday, September 23, 2021

Five score for Blue Devils in win over Brooklyn

Last fall, only six different players scored at least one goal as Independence limped to a 3-10-4 season.

On Monday, five different Blue Devils found the back of the net in a 5-0 win at Brooklyn that pushed Independence’s record to 8-5-1 heading into Thursday’s finale against Cornerstone Christian.

“We had a few that were missed too,” said Independence coach Bryan Less. “We had a few more opportunities but we just weren’t finishing them. All four assisted goals were from crosses and on the unassisted goal Jasmine Harb dribbled past two girls and had a nice outside shot.”

Molly Dougherty, Riccela DiGeronimo, Emily Reed, Paige Westerburg and Harb all scored in the win while Westerburg also contributed with two assists and Elise Nelson and Makenna McGhee each had one.

DiGeronimo’s goal increased her team lead to 12 and Westerburg is right behind her with 11.

Harb scored her third goal of the season despite switching positions to fill holes vacated by the absence of two starters.

“Jasmine had a goal and she also played a lot of center mid,” Less said. “Erin Zygmunt, who normally plays that spot, did not play tonight. She was sick, so Jasmine stepped up and filled her role. We were also without Christina Brunsman, so we did a nice job without two starters.”

Reni Kaiser recorded one save in notching her second shutout of the season.

The defense got a boost from the return of Rachel Belitz, who missed several games due to injury.

“Even though she’s a freshman, she’s already one of the leaders of the defense,” Less said. “She played 50 minutes tonight and 40 minutes against Wickliffe. She’s really a presence out there and she knows the game. It’s her first year really playing a lot of defense, but I think she likes it. Some other defenders played really well; Emily Reed and Aliya McDonald.”

Independence closes out the regular season at home against Cornerstone Christian on Thursday. The sixth-seeded Blue Devils then open the postseason at home against No. 11 Conneaut on Oct. 16.

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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