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Irresistible Force

Karns City’s McKenna Martin (7) watches one of her three first-half goals sail into the net during Monday’s 8-0 win over Ridgway in the first round of the District 9 playoffs. Holly Mead/Special to the Butler Eagle
KC girls stay the course, dominate Ridgway in D9 playoff

KARNS CITY — Shots came from all directions early on in Karns City’s District 9 Class 1A first-round girls soccer playoff game against Ridgway Monday night.

The Gremlins hovered around the Elkers’ net and had a bevy of chances to break the game open. Ridgway was struggling to simply get the ball to midfield, but in the first 31 minutes of play, all KC had to show for its dominance was Lyrik Reed’s tally in the seventh minute of play.

Shots sailed wide or high of the net, smacked off the posts or were saved by freshman goalkeeper Sara Zameroski.

“When that happens, you just have to keep getting those shots, keep getting those looks,” said KC coach Tracy Dailey.

The Gremlins did just that and eventually, shots began finding the net in bunches.

Beginning with Addie Christie’s score with 8:47 remaining in the first half, the Gremlins collected five goals in a span of just six minutes. The barrage highlighted an 8-0 victory at Diehl Stadium, which will host a semifinal Wednesday between No. 2 Karns City and No. 3 Forest Area.

“We really didn’t grab the momentum until late in the first half, but we didn’t panic,” Dailey said. “It was a good all-around team effort tonight.”

McKenna Martin scored three of KC’s goals shortly before halftime and Emma Dailey added another as the Gremlins (15-4) enjoyed a 6-0 lead at the break.

Dailey and Cece Morrow capped the scoring in the second half.

Zameroski made 22 saves for seventh-seeded Ridgway. KC goalie Savanna Prescott was not challenged.

“Our practices have been spot-on and we were definitely prepared coming into tonight,” Coach Dailey said. “Right now, it’s more of a mental game for us. We have to be mentally prepared to play our style of soccer all over the field.“

Good chemistry is something all teams strive for, but not all achieve.

“That wasn’t a concern for us coming into the season,” said Morrow, a senior forward. “We’ve all grown up playing together and have a lot of experience with each other, even the younger girls.”

The Gremlins won the District 9 Class 2A title last year. They are now a Class 1A team. Elk County Catholic is the top seed and will face Brockway in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

“Even though we’re not the top seed, we have what it takes to win districts again,” added Morrow. “We’ve been playing super-well together.”

Coach Dailey is expecting a much stiffer test Wednesday against the Fires.

“We played them in September and won 4-1,” she said, “but it was a much closer game than that.”

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