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Jessi Wollmann scores twice as the Bruins wrap up the River Ridge girls soccer championship with a 2-0 win over the Spartans.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
It took more than a few tries, but Blacksburg forward Jessi Wollmann finally found the net Friday against one of the top goalkeepers in Timesland.
And then she did it again.
Persistence paid for the Bruins, who got a tally in each half from Wollmann to defeat Salem 2-0 for the River Ridge District title at Bruce A. Mahan Field.
“It was really a mental game for us,” said Wollmann, a sophomore. “I got talked to a lot by our [assistant] coach, Corey [Carroll]. He was saying you just can’t let them get in your head. You’re going to find the back of the net eventually if you just keep going and going.”
The Bruins (15-2), the top seed in Region IV, will host a team from the Piedmont District or Southwest District on Tuesday. The Spartans (13-3-2) are the No. 2 seed and will host Tunstall that same night.
Those positions were locked up regardless of Friday’s outcome, but this one was far from meaningless to the rivals.
“Going into regions you know you’re going to see these guys again, so it’s a test,” Blacksburg coach Travis Eschenmann said. “It’s a test of how we’re going to do, how we’re set up. Are we ready to compete against a great team? So it means a lot.”
The Bruins led 1-0 at the half, and it could have been more if not for some outstanding goaltending by Salem junior Carrie West.
In the 12th minute, Temple signee Morgan Evans was awarded a penalty kick after being fouled in the box. She tried the lower left corner, but West made a diving save.
Three minutes later, Wollmann made a spectacular individual effort to get one-on-one with West, but her close-range shot hit the side netting. West then made sprawling saves on two other Wollmann blasts.
“She’s phenomenal,” Eschenmann said of West. “You could see — she stopped a couple point blank, she stopped a PK. She just played out of her mind tonight. So we had to work for it, but that’s all right. That’s what you want.”
Blacksburg finally broke through in the 35th minute, when Wollmann split two defenders and tapped a shot beyond the reach of West for the go-ahead goal.
That figured to be huge, given the paucity of goals in this tightly contested series. These teams split two meetings during the regular season, with each scoring a 1-0 road victory.
This one had a slightly different tenor to it.
“The other two were back and forth,” Salem coach Josh Jones said. “Tonight, I thought they had a few more opportunities than we did. I thought their speed kind of hurt us a little bit. You could tell they were ready to play.”
Wollmann struck again in the 72nd minute, banging home a rebound of an Evans blast.
In the third-place game, Lauren Joiner and Adair McCabe scored as Cave Spring (10-8-1) topped Christiansburg (8-8-2) 2-0 to secure a Region IV berth.
The Knights will travel to Richlands for the first round on Tuesday.
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