LOGAN — Senior Night was emotional — and it was intense — for the Logan Lady Chiefs soccer team.
Visiting Pickerington Central spoiled the on-field portion of the evening, pulling away in the second half for a 5-2 victory.
It was the final regular-season match for Mollie Gabriel, Izzy Ireton, Mackenzie Maynard, Emily McGreevy, Abby Burggraf and Aaliyah Lewis, although they will get to play one more match in Logan Chieftain Stadium next Wednesday when they host Lancaster in a Central District Division I tournament tilt.
“They are the type of girls you want leading your team,” said Lady Chiefs coach Brandy Ball. “Yes, every high school student has their rough days where they’re grumpy and stressed and tired, and we deal with those days as they come as coaches, but these girls understand the importance of putting their team first and putting those other moments behind them.”
The seniors pulled together to score Logan’s first goal just two minutes into the match. Maynard (left wing) assisted Burggraf (right wing) with a cross to the middle, resulting in Burggraf’s second goal of the season.
“That’s what you want to see on Senior Night,” Ball said. “It brought so much joy to our entire team. Mollie Gabriel and Emily McGreevy followed up through the middle as backup, with Izzy Ireton behind them as defensive mid, and of course Aaliyah Lewis playing a strong game in the net.
“Pickerington Central was surprised by our quick desire and determination to score,” she continued. “It took them 10 minutes to get their first goal of the evening, and then another 10 to get their second goal.”
The Lady Tigers (8-6) led 2-1 at the intermission.
At the break, “we encouraged the girls to trust themselves,” Ball revealed. “They’ve created good habits this season. They know how to work the ball through the back and to use the outside. At this point, they’re just playing really great soccer and we couldn’t ask for more.”
Pick Central got its third goal in the 35th minute of the second half.
“Our defensive line consistently worked to beat them to the ball and connect a pass out,” Ball said. “Dani Wolfe, Maya Burggraf, Caroline Osburn and Emilee Kessler consistently found themselves ball winning and battling to hold off an extremely fast Central offensive line. We haven’t come across many girls this season that our girls can’t beat to the ball, but man, Pick Central had some speed.
“This didn’t keep our defensive line from having what may have been their best game of the season,” she added. Along with Josie Rimkus, “they always put up a strong fight. They have a determination to win the ball and keep it in the possession of their teammates. Their heart is in this game, and that’s what we love about them.”
Five minutes later, sophomore Brooklin Harris scored her 16th goal of the season off a Madison Turner feed to draw the Lady Chiefs (6-6-3) within 3-2.
“These two, Mollie Gabriel and Emily McGreevy worked all night long sending the ball to our fast offenders, waiting for one of them to go into the net,” Ball revealed. “Seniors Mollie Gabriel and Emily McGreevy have spent their high school soccer careers using their good dribbling skills to feed some amazing passes, crosses and assists to their teammates. Their ability will be missed.”
Central pulled away with goals in the 26th and 20th minute.
Maynard, Gabriel, Burggraf, Turner, Harris, Osburn and McGreevy all had shots for the Lady Chiefs.
“Izzy Ireton, as usual, exceeded expectations with her decision-making on the field,” praised Ball. “Izzy is our thinker. She receives the ball, uses her skills to hold onto it, until she can place it to a teammate that will result in continuous possession for Logan.
“This is probably one of the hardest tasks you can ask of a soccer player,” she added. “Everyone is out to win the ball, and her job is to keep it and execute a future play for our team.”
Lewis finished with 14 saves in net.
“Aaliyah had a lot of decisions to make,” Ball said. “Timing as a keeper is critical, but she seems to make these decisions with ease, and they typically pay off. Aaliyah spent so much time this summer bettering herself as a keeper, and to say it paid off would be an understatement. She truly has had a spectacular season in the net.”
The Lady Chiefs conclude their regular season Thursday evening at Alexander.
JV team drops finale: Pickerington Central — which has two junior varsity teams — won the reserve contest 8-0. The Logan JV team concluded its season with a 1-8-1 record.
Logan goalkeeper “Sarah Schwartze spent the evening in net with two brutal attacks from Pick Central, but held her own totaling 22 saves for the evening,” Ball said.
Kendyl Glenn, Carsyn Lawrence and Alivia Magdich had shots for the Lady Chiefs.
“Coach (Greg) Rimkus and I cannot describe how proud we are of these girls and the effort they have put in at practice and during games to not only become better athletes themselves, but to improve their team chemistry,” praised Ball. “This is a team that spends time together not just during soccer practice and games, but outside of these moments, and that shows. They appreciate one another, and encourage one another. Their growth is undeniable and we have enjoyed coaching them so much.”