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Harding cannot hold off Boardman again

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Harding senior Soraeya Loveland, right, moves in to intercept a pass that Nadia Rawhneh passes to a teammate.

BOARDMAN — In a battle of teams that are looking to put the pieces together, the Boardman girls soccer team got momentum early and ran with it, beating Warren G. Harding 5-0 in an All-American Conference matchup.

“It wasn’t too bad,” Spartans coach Mark D’Eramo said. “It was another rainy night. We had another tough one Monday against Fitch, so it’s always tough playing Monday and Wednesday. Our girls did fine, we came out and played pretty well in the first half, second half we kind of became a little complacent, but the first half was pretty good.”

Boardman wasted no time getting on the board with freshman Sarah Blasco beating Harding goalkeeper Emily Trissler to score just over 2 minutes into the game. Six minutes later, junior Ashley Harding extended the Boardman lead to 2-0.

Freshman Kendell Scriber hit a shot at the midway mark of the half to make it 3-0 in favor of the Spartans, and Blasco scored her second of the night with 9minutes remaining in the half.

The Spartans went into halftime with a 4-0 lead. During the break, D’Eramo made sure to remind the girls to not slow down and to treat the game like it was still scoreless.

“I wanted them to treat the second half like it’s 0-0,” he said. “You can’t ever underestimate teams. Every moment you should be playing 0-0, and we did that.”

Harding scored her second goal of the night to further extend the lead in favor of Boardman early in the second half. For the rest of the game, Boardman had multiple solid opportunities on net, but wasn’t able to capitalize and finish with a 5-0 victory.

As the season begins to wind down, the Spartans (2-4-5) are focusing on the small things to tighten up. The team has lost in some tight matches, so closing games has been a focus for the team.

“We’re trying to really hone in on some nit-picky kind of problems,” D’Eramo said. “We’ve lost a lot of tight games so we’re trying to work on winning the tight ones. We’ve tied a lot, we’ve lost some ‘one-nothings’ so we’re just trying to perfect some issues that we’ve had.”

Before the tournament, however, Boardman has a handful of matches left, including two games against the conference’s toughest in Canfield and Howland.

“The approach is to be lethal when you have a chance to score it,” D’Eramo said. “When it’s 0-0 or you’re down 1-0 or up 1-0, when you have a chance, you have to put it away. We’re very young and we’re working on becoming more clinical like that.

“Throughout the season, we’ve had our ups and downs but at least tonight we were able to get some of our confidence back and get some goals.”

Like Boardman, the Raiders are a young team with even less experience across the board. Harding coach Kevin Brown said how the difference in experience led to a successful Spartan passing game.

“There’s a lot of youth on the team,” Brown said. “We have a lot. We have probably four freshmen that start, a sophomore keeper, a lot of inexperience and Boardman used that to their advantage. They dominated the first half for sure. They connected through the center a lot and put it back out to the outside and put it back in the center. They were just passing all over us and it played to their advantage, and I think they scored three goals that way.”

The Raiders (1-10-0), travel to Beloit on Saturday to take on West Branch, while Boardman welcomes a talented Division IV Badger squad on Monday.

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