Watts’ hat trick sends Oak Glen to finals
NEW MANCHESTER — Indian Creek’s plan of attack during Thursday’s OVAC Class 4A semifinal against Oak Glen was to mark Reece Enochs.
After all, she is the Golden Bears’ all-time leading scorer and tallied five more against the Redskins a few weeks ago.
The problem for Indian Creek, however, is Oak Glen has more weapons than just Enochs, and that was on display during the Golden Bears’ 6-1 victory.
Brooklyn Watts recorded a hat trick in the first half. Brooklyn Loveland and Kami Ward also scored in the first to build a 5-0 halftime lead. Enochs finally scored with 17:41 left to play with the game already out of reach.
“We knew they’d probably take away Reece. Most teams do,” Oak Glen head coach Ryan Wells said. “We feel from the midfield up, we feel we have five girls that can score. Brooklyn was free on that outside a lot. As soon as we figure out who they’re marking and who they’re taking away, we just find the open players.”
Indian Creek (6-3), the third seed, scored its lone goal with 8:46 remaining in the game from Rileigh Gualtiere.
“They’re a fantastic team. They’ve been to the state tournament two years in a row and were runners up last year,” Indian Creek head coach Joe West said. “They play well, they’re well coached, they’re aggressive and fast to the ball. They deserved this win.
“The last time we played them, Reece had five goals on us. We said that wasn’t happening again, so I think our girls marked her up well and held her. The goal she had was off of a free kick. Oak Glen is a good enough team that if you mark one person or two people, they just keep it coming.”
During the last encounter, No. 2 seed Oak Glen (7-2) won 11-0. Out of the Redskins’ three defeats, two have come at Oak Glen.
Watts wasted little time in getting the Golden Bears out in front, scoring her first goal 50 seconds after the match started. Her second came three minutes later, while her last occurred 52 seconds before halftime.
“Brooklyn has really worked on the left foot,” Wells said. “She scored two left-footed goals today from distance. She’s a right-footed player. She’s coming off an injury (torn ACL) and didn’t play soccer for a year and a half. She’s missed all of last season. She’s been biting at the bullet.”
All four Oak Glen players that scored also collected one assist each. Goalkeeper Alexus Greenlief made three saves.
For the Redskins, Gualtiere’s goal was unassisted. Makenzie Taylor had a busy day in the net, making 10 saves.
“They packed it in a lot more. They played us straight in the first game,” Wells said. “Scoring five goals in the first half is pretty good for us, and we’ve been working that system. We do a couple of different things to attack those packed-in defenses. It’s just being patient because when you’re playing 11 girls behind the ball, it’s tough to break through. I was proud of the way we handled it.
“They did play better in the second half. Indian Creek’s approach was a lot better. Our big thing is, after you’re up 5-0 at halftime, it’s keeping that motivation. We didn’t give up any real good chances except for that one goal.”
Indian Creek: Hosts Cambridge on Saturday.
Oak Glen: Faces top-seeded St. Clairsville for the Class 4A title at noon Saturday at St. Clairsville. Oak Glen defeated the Red Devils, 4-0, in the championship match a season ago.
“Not being able to go out and scout, those girls are always well coached,” Wells said. “They have a good amount of their girls back from last year. We’re looking to possess the ball and work our system, marking up when we need to mark up. We’re running with teams that won’t stretch with us, but we’ll see what they do.”