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Published: Thursday, 11/5/2009

Schmidt's goals spark Northview

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Northview had faced Findlay once before last night's Division I girls soccer regional semifinal at Ottawa Hills, playing to a scoreless tie.

So the Wildcats knew that the goal Findlay scored just seven minutes into the contest could pose problems.

But that goal proved to be no problem for Northview as senior Katie Schmidt scored twice to propel the Wildcats to a 2-1 victory.

"Our team has confidence, and quality teams really perform when their backs are against the wall," Northview coach Rick Burgin said. "[Adversity] is the kind of thing that seems to turn this team on."

The come-from-behind victory helped the Wildcats (13-5-3) advance to Saturday's regional final at Ashland against Medina. Findlay finishes at 12-6-1.

Findlay's Nikki Burton, left, and Northview's Victoria Northup battle for the ball in last night's Division I regional semifinal. Findlay's Nikki Burton, left, and Northview's Victoria Northup battle for the ball in last night's Division I regional semifinal.
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The Trojans drew first blood on a defensive lapse by the Northview back line. Early in the contest the ball began to roll towards the Wildcats' goal, but no Northview defender took possession.

Findlay's Ashley Miller pounced on the ball and drilled a low, hard shot past Wildcat goalkeeper Jessica Jessing into the back of the net at the 33:46 mark of the period.

"Ashley Miller kept getting through, and we were losing her," Burgin said. "And that girl has great moves. Give her credit - she did what she was supposed to do."

Because the Trojans had not allowed a goal in their first three playoff games - and had posted nine shutouts in 18 matches overall, including the contest with the Wildcats Sept. 14 - Northview might have panicked at the deficit.

They didn't.

"In the early part of the year when we played them, we were struggling to finish [scoring opportunities]," Burgin said. "We're a young team, and our team has gotten better as the year has gone on.

"These days, when we are stumbling, at least we're stumbling forward. And we've been down in every game [in the tournament] except one, so we weren't

concerned."

Schmidt agreed.

"We had to stay positive," she said. "[Falling behind] has happened to us before, but when we stay positive we find a way to end up on top."

Northview got the equalizer with 6:59 left in the half when Findlay goalkeeper Shannon Mills came out of her goal to try and cover a loose ball. Mills never got to it, though, and it was centered by Brooke Snead onto the foot of Schmidt, who pounded it into the open net.

The Wildcats took a 2-1 lead 13 minutes into the second half when Schmidt took a centering pass onto her left foot and rifled a hard shot past Mills.

"I got two junk goals because of them," Schmidt said of her teammates. "On both goals, Brooke crossed to me, and I happened to be in the right spot at the right time."

Findlay had several chances to tie the contest, but the Wildcats never allowed a clean shot on goal. It didn't hurt that, in the final minutes, Schmidt switched to a sweeper's role behind the rest of the Northview defense.

"She's just a big-time player," Burgin said. "She sets the tone for this team. She's a leader, and when we talk about player responsibility, she totes that line for us.

"She helps players understand when they need to pick up their game. She's a player you can put anywhere on the field."

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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