Glass half empty

Springfield avoids Lordstown upset

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Lordstown’s Mya Currence, left, battles Springfield’s Kylee Kiser for possession during their Division III district semifinal Monday. Springfield won, 5-1.

NEW MIDDLETOWN — A couple of dribbles up the field, water flying everywhere, a little mud slowing the pace of the game.

It neutralized the once-dominant speedy front of Springfield and kept the game scoreless at halftime between the top-seeded Tigers and fourth-seeded Lordstown in Monday’s Division III Austintown District semifinal. The even play only lasted so long, however, as the Tigers won, 5-1.

Springfield (16-2) takes on second-seeded United on Thursday at a site to be determined.

The middle became clogged with Lordstown defenders countering the methodical moves of the Springfield offense. Lordstown goalkeeper Kaylynn Higginbotham couldn’t be deterred, as her game included a tip over the crossbar on a shot by Springfield’s Haley LaMorticella with about 20 minutes before the break.

“Our goal stood on her head in the first half,” Lordstown coach Matt Kresic said.

The Red Devil defenders kept a couple other attempts at bay.

“We played better than expected. The rain helped up for sure,” said Kresic, whose team finished 9-9.

The second half wasn’t so defensive. Shantel Springer took a the pass from Anna Rothwell off the tip and scored the game’s first goal within 24 seconds.

“We came out in a 3-4-3, which we never played all year,” Springfield coach Justin Kosek said. “I kind of didn’t know how to get things going.”

Kylee Kosek and Cierra Latronica had two goals each to close out the Tigers scores.

Justin Kosek said his team started working the ball outside, getting it out of the middle and working on crossing the ball up a little more.

Lordstown’s Cadence Lickwar added a goal off a corner kick with 5 minutes remaining to cut the lead to 3-1. Latronica had the last two goals for the final score.

This was a marked improvement from last year’s team, which lost to Newton Falls in a sectional bracket final.

It’s a Lordstown team that is young and improving.

“Everything has been a lot better than it has in the past,” Kresic said. “Things are looking up the next couple of years.

“In a couple of years, we’re going to be real good.”