Monday, January 30, 2023

Independence edges rival Cuyahoga Heights

Molly Dougherty’s goal was the difference as Independence held off visiting Cuyahoga Heights in a rivalry game at Stan Skoczen Stadium on Thursday.

The Blue Devils, who improved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in Chagrin Valley Conference play, used a stingy defense to keep the Redskins from scoring the equalizer in the second half.

“This was a good building block game for us,” said Independence coach Bryan Less. “We played hard for 80 minutes and some players are starting to take steps in the right direction.”

Independence scored when Marisa Silvestro tapped a throw-in to Dougherty, who finished it off from 25 yards out.

After that, the Blue Devils buckled down on defense to preserve the shutout for Reni Kaiser, who finished with 13 saves.

“Our defense did an excellent job containing three good forwards,” Less said. “Heights’ best player had a breakaway in the second half. Erin Zygmunt came from the defensive center mid on a dead sprint to take the ball away to stop their last best chance. Alex Adams and Rachel Belitz stopped several breakaways and played very strong games at center back. Josie Lee also played above herself in an excellent effort tonight. Our possession was OK and we will continue to work on that. We closed the last 10 minutes with solid possession. Reni also had a very nice game in net as she was repeatedly in the right spot to make the save.”

Independence hosts Riverside on Saturday.

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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