Oak Hill’s Audrey Dillman (22) deflects the ball as Isabella Cruz De Oliviera (10) and Jaycee Cole (2) look during a girls soccer game in Wales on Thursday. TonyBlasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

WALES — Oak Hill plays a finesse game and knows how to move the ball well, but getting it past Spruce Mountain’s defense and freshman goalie Emma Towers was a demanding task at times.

Oak Hill sophomore Gabby Chessie (6) kicks the ball past Spruce Mountain goalie Emma Towers to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead in the first half in Wales on Thursday. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

But the Raiders (1-2) found away to slip two goals past the unyielding Towers and collected a 2-0 victory over the feisty Phoenix (0-3) in a girls soccer game Thursday afternoon. The victory is Oak Hill’s first of the season.

Oak Hill coach Jeremy Young was impressed with the Raiders’ performance on several levels.

“Really, intensity, too much of it,” Young said. “A lot ball control, and we just didn’t quit, which is something we’ve had trouble not doing, but something that’s tough to stay intense when you have possession of the ball, such as we did.

“I was pretty pleased, the second half when we started the game … where we had eight passes in a row. (There was) a lot of possession and creativity on our part.”

A few players in particular stood out to Young.

“Skill-wise, Maggie Ryder played a great right midfielder for us,” he said. “Certainly, Elise Worth hit a couple of key shots for us from long range. You got to love that (Audrey and Emily) Dillman connection on that goal.”

The Phoenix were presented with a couple of opportunities to score but were denied by the Raiders.

For 17 minutes of the first half, the Raiders hammered away at the Spruce Mountain net, but Towers (16 saves) usually got in the way of Oak Hill’s plans.

The persistent Raiders finally scored when sophomore Gabby Chessie broke free from the pack and raced toward Towers on a breakaway. Chessie drove the ball up over Towers and to the top corner of the net for Oak Hill’s first goal with 23 minutes left in the first half.

“They (Raiders) move very well without the ball,” Spruce Mountain co-coach Marc Keller said. “The alignment that they run. They are running seven girls through all the time and it’s confusing. We are not tremendously experienced, but we worked through those and I thought we did a pretty good job there.

“The fact that we are learning and getting better every time we come out. We are 0-3, but every game we’ve gotten better, and if that keeps going, there’s nothing more than you can ask for.  We just keep getting better.”

And there wasn’t much more Keller and the Phoenix could have asked for from Towers.

Spruce Mountain’s Grace Harmatys (5) kicks the ball as Oak Hill’s Julia Noel tries to intercept it in during Thursday’s game in Wales. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“Oh man, (Towers) saved us,” he said. “She is just a freshman and she made a ton of saves. She made couple of really good saves. She absolutely no question kept us in the game.”

The Raiders headed into halftime with a 1-0 lead, and for the first part of the second half it appeared that a one-goal advantage was much of a cushion as they’d get.

But Oak Hill could breath easier when the Dillman sisters teamed up for the Raiders’ second goal. Audrey, a junior, set up Emily, a sophomore, with a feed that she put into the net with 21:55 left in the game.

From there, the Phoenix’s defense did all it could to keep the Raiders from scoring again.

For the day, the Raiders outshot the Phoenix 26-2, and held the advantage in corners 6-1.


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