Girls Soccer: Monroe tops Badin to reach state quarterfinal level

Monroe edged Badin 1-0 on Tuesday in a Division II girls soccer regional semifinal at Monroe. The Hornets advance to face SWBL rival Oakwood in Saturday's regional finals. Photo courtesy of Butler County High School Sports Report
Caption
Monroe edged Badin 1-0 on Tuesday in a Division II girls soccer regional semifinal at Monroe. The Hornets advance to face SWBL rival Oakwood in Saturday's regional finals. Photo courtesy of Butler County High School Sports Report

MONROE -- The Monroe girls soccer team went into the 2020 season facing the challenge of following up the 2019 team’s trip to the Division II regional finals.

The Hornets had the feeling that many outsiders thought they couldn’t do it. If there were doubters, they became believers on Tuesday.

Senior midfielder Jade Gallagher found a crack in a scrum of players in front of the Badin goal and scored with a sliding shot for the only goal in Monroe’s 1-0 win over the Rams at Monroe.

The win propels coach Stacey Williams’ 17-2-1 Hornets into Saturday’s regional final, scheduled for noon at Monroe, against an Oakwood team they’ve already beaten twice this season, both times 4-0 in Southwestern Buckeye League competition.

“It feels wonderful,” said Williams, whose team has outscored four tournament opponents by a combined 15-0. "A lot of people thought we wouldn’t get here again. They thought last year was our year.

“Two SWBL teams reach the regional finals,” she added. “That says a lot about our league. It doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past.”

Shots on goal were precious with the teams unofficially combining for nine, five by the Hornets. Monroe freshman goalkeeper Peyton Allen finished with an unofficial three saves as the Hornets defense consistently stymied Badin scoring opportunities while logging the team’s fourth shutout in four tournament games.

The game was scoreless in the 29th minute when senior defender Brooke Frazier lined up for a corner kick to the right of Badin goalkeeper Becca Wolterman. Players from both teams converged as the ball bounced around five yards in front of the goal before Gallagher slid in like a baserunner stealing second and scored her first goal of the post-season.

“There were a lot of deflections,” Gallagher said after the game about the goal she considers to be the biggest of her life. "Anything to get the ball in there. We put ourselves out there, especially the seniors, since every game could be our last game.

“We’re trying to make history.”

“It’s just a good feeling,” Williams said. “Badin is a quality team. We knew it would be a battle. It was a matter of who would capitalize on their opportunities. Luckily, we did.”

“Congratulations to Monroe,” Badin coach Joe Martin said. “They wanted the game. I thought we played better in the second half than we did in the first half.”

The Hornets eliminated Badin (11-6-2) for the second straight season, but not before the Rams put together a cliffhanger of a tournament run that included two one-goal wins, one in overtime. That followed a difficult end to the regular season. Badin lost the last two games and three of the last four going into the tournament.

“I’m proud of our season,” Martin said. “They were kind of down late in the season, and we had a couple of conversations about what kind of legacy we wanted to leave. They started to turn it around. They started working harder.”

** Kailyn Dudukovich scored three goals to lead Lakota West past unbeaten and top-ranked Mount Notre Dame 3-2 in a Division I regional semifinal at MND. The Firebirds (18-3-0) will host Centerville in the regional finals at noon Saturday. West is the defending state champion.