CLAYTON — Northmont had little difficulty winning its opening game Monday in the girls Division I soccer tournament posting a 5-0 victory over Xenia.
Knowing full-well that second round opponent Vandalia-Butler was scouting the game, the Northmont coaching staff shuffled the lineup and had players in positions they don’t normally fill.
Despite the lineup shuffle the Lady Bolts offense clicked well. Sophomore Maddie White netted the Lady Bolts first goal of the evening off an assist by sophomore Emily Howard with 17:41 remaining in the first half.
The upperclassmen struck next with senior Kyleigh Denson scoring with 6:25 left in the half off an assist by senior Brittany Weatherford.
The 2-0 score stood at halftime, but Northmont wasn’t done yet.
With 22:09 remaining in the match senior Toni Burton scored a head shot off an assist by freshman Emma Sluterbeck to boost Northmont’s lead to 3-0.
Sophomore Sydney Caras made it 4-0 on an unassisted goal with 15:34 remaining.
Senior Hannah Cloud capped the scoring with a head shot off another assist by Weatherford with 4:02 left in the match.
With the victory Northmont improves to 8-6-3 while Xenia’s season ends with a record of 4-8-5.
“Northmont sent a lot of people forward so we had a lot of people hanging back trying to defend, which left only one player up front to attack,” said Xenia Coach Jim Lamb. “If we don’t play it to our feet it’s really hard to go against three defenders one-on-one. By trying to defend all of their players coming through that left us with only one attacker most of the night so that made it very difficult to get any offense going.”
Northmont advances to face Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division champs Vandalia-Butler (14-1-1) on Thursday at Butler at 7 p.m.
“It’s a great way to start the postseason getting five goals and building some momentum for our next match,” said Northmont Coach Ted Mergler. “We mixed it up and threw some girls into different positions knowing that we were being scouted tonight, so we didn’t want to show everything. We had a little bit of a slow start, but once we got things moving and the girls started working a little bit harder things started coming pretty easy for us.”
Senior Kyleigh Denson muscles the ball past a Xenia defender.
Emily Howard puts defensive pressure on Xenia midfielder Rachel Sanders.