Northview's Sarah Szczepaniak gets the upper hand, and head, in a battle with Abby Holzworth of North Olmsted.
North Olmsted won the regular-season meeting but the Wildcats prevailed 2-0 last night.
Second-half goals by Lara Greiner and Stephanie Ray helped the Wildcats advance to the regional final for the first time in school history.
“It's my senior year and it's everything you always hope for,” said Greiner.
The Wildcats (14-3-3) will play Saturday against Strongsville, which beat Findlay 2-0 last night, at a site and time to be determined.
Northview lost 3-0 to the Eagles during the season.
After watching the Wildcats allow the Eagles (12-6-2) to dictate the tempo through a scoreless first half, Northview first-year coach Tim Zundel addressed his team at halftime, particularly the six seniors on the roster.
“I told them to put it all on the field in the second half,” Zundel said.
It became evident soon after intermission the Wildcats took heed to their coach's suggestion. They started dictating play and controlling the game with more effort and push up and down the field.
However, it remained scoreless for nearly 27 minutes into the second half before Greiner booted a loose ball from 15 feet out past North Olmsted freshman goalie Annie Haky with 13:21 remaining.
Greiner's goal helped the momentum swing in the Wildcats' favor.
“We really felt more confident after that,” Greiner said.
Ray, who secured the victory with a penalty kick a few minutes later, said Greiner's goal is what they needed to take charge.
“It lifted everybody up, the whole team,” Ray said.
Zundel said he watched the videotape from the first meeting several times, looking for an edge heading into last night's game.
While he made a few adjustments, Zundel didn't attempt major changes to what the Wildcats have done all season.
“We knew if we played our game we could play with them,” Zundel said.
Greiner said she never doubted they could play with the Eagles.
“I felt they were a team we could play with,” Greiner said.
North Olmsted dominated the first half. The Eagles kept the ball on the Wildcats' side of the field for three quarters of the half.
Still, the Wildcats kept the game scoreless. Even when the Eagles applied great pressure, the Wildcats' defense refused to cave.
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