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Crestview outlasts Ursuline

Morning Journal / Michael S. Burich Crestview’s Maci Shaffer (13) and Ursuline’s Olivia Puhaila battle for control of the ball on Thursday.

COLUMBIANA — Crestview girls soccer coach Barry Kimpel didn’t have the luxury of depth to spell his starters as time ticked deep into the first overtime of Monday’s Div. III district semifinal with Ursuline.

The Irish substituted freely throughout the match, but the Rebel coach had just made one change. With Crestview legs tiring, Kimpel needed one of his key contributors to make a play to stop the Irish from pushing for the winner.

“We created the most clear-cut opportunities in the game which caused (Ursuline) to be on their heels,” Kimpel said. “But that caused us to be pretty tired too.”

Sophomore midfielder Karagin Miller was the one that answered the call as she booted a 25-yard golden goal strike into the Irish net with 1:14 left in the first overtime to push the Rebels into the district final for the first time since 2015.

“We were definitely feeling it after a full 80 minutes of soccer play,” Miller said. “When you’re down and you’re tired like that, that’s when you have to push the hardest, push for the seniors, push for your team and push for another day. That’s what we did.”

Crestview (13-7) will take a six-game winning streak into the district final against defending district champions and top-seed South Range at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Bo Rein Stadium in Niles.

The Rebels came into this contest as the No. 9 seed, while the Irish (5-8-2) were slotted as No. 10

“Two of our tournament games now we were predicted to lose, so we overcame that,” Miller said. “(South Range) is just one more challenge for us.”

Rebel goalie Lexie Huff played a pivotal role for the winners with seven saves. The Irish attack of junior left winger Marisa Fiorini and sophomore forward Lily Scott challenged the Rebel defense for most of the night but could not land a finishing blow.

“Without (Huff) we probably would not have won this game,” Miller said.

The overtime period was particularly physical. With nine minutes left in the overtime, Fiorini took a ball to the face and the game had to be paused. While trying to make a save with six minutes left in the overtime, Huff took a kick from Ursuline’s Olivia Poghen which resulted in a yellow card.

About a minute before the game-winner, Rebel senior midfielder Sophia Carr was just inches wide of a breakaway goal during a scramble with Irish goalie Tanner Schade.

Schade had matched Huff in protecting the Irish goal up until that point.

“It’s a game of inches and a game of opportunities,” Ursuline coach Roy Schmidt said. “They just happened to have that opportunity. We should have put it away in the second half.”

Ursuline had started this season 2-5.

“We had a real poor start to the season with injuries and issues and from there everything has been wonderful,” Schmidt said. “The girls played really hard this season and we’d like to be playing Thursday but it is what it is.”

The Rebels will have to rest up for a significant challenge in Range.

“They’re the best team in our district,” Kimpel said. “They’re fantastic. We can speak at length about Gabby Lamparty and a couple of their other key players. We’ve been the underdogs for the last two matches and if we can do the things we can do, we can make it a good game.”

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