Good things come to those who wait.
No truer words have been said – especially in the case of the Big Walnut girls soccer team.
The Golden Eagles rode goals by sophomores Grace Bodker and Adelee Gartner, and senior Maddie Aleshire to a 3-0 victory over Bishop Hartley to capture the Division II district title Saturday afternoon at Anderson Field in Grandview Heights.
Fourth-year coach Drew Pitzer was emotional after his team won its first district title in school history, which came a year after the team reached the round for the first time.
“It’s an emotional day,” Pitzer said. “These kids have been working tirelessly to build this program to where it is. This wasn’t even a dream (when I became the coach).”
Bodker pounded in the first goal – a heat-seeker to the top left to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
“I’ve never seen her hit a ball like that,” Pitzer said. “There was anger behind that kick. It pierced that net and I thought it was going through it. I mean, she just hit with everything she had in that little body of hers … I don’t know if she’ll ever hit a ball that hard again in her life.”
After a couple of minutes were added on to the clock in the second half, Gartner took a centering pass from freshman Avery Schone and buried it to push the BW (10-6-3) lead to 2-0 with 28:55 remaining in the game.
“Avery Schone was fantastic – she made a lot of the plays that we just haven’t had a player make in the past,” Pitzer said. “Adelee Gartner is sick – she can’t breathe – and she’s out there just busting her tail. She got rewarded with a well-deserved goal.”
Aleshire finished out the scoring when she rebounded Alexis Schone’s shot off the right post and beat the goalie with 23:17 left.
It was a big moment for Aleshire. She battled her way back this season from ACL surgery that forced her to miss the Eagles first trip to the district title game.
“I’m really excited because I had my ACL surgery last year, so I don’t really remember it,” Aleshire said. “I had three knee surgeries last year and it was really hard. One of the things that kept me going was the team itself and the coaches. It’s just a great feeling.”
Third-seeded BW controlled the action from the beginning, keeping the ball away from the Hawks.
“Not only did they win that game, but they knew they were the better team from the beginning to the end … they fought hard,” Pitzer said.
Meghan Dempsey stopped four shots in goal for fifth-seeded Hartley (13-6-1), which beat the Eagles 1-0 Oct. 11 in Sunbury.
“We were in at noon at the school watching film before this game,” Pitzer said. “That’s the dedication that this team has … it’s something that this team wanted to do. They wanted to be here, they wanted to watch film … they wanted to win this game.”
BW faced Archbishop Alter in the regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Wayne High School in Huber Heights. Due to press deadlines, the results won’t be in today’s edition. For results, see sunburynews.com.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.