Rosecrans shatters Crusaders during district semifinal

INTERCEPTING — Steubenville Catholic Central’s Allie Zapolnik (22) battles for possession of the ball with Rosecrans’ Claire Creeks during their Division III Eastern District girls soccer semifinal Wednesday night at Red Devil Stadium in St. Clairsville. (Photo by Kim North)

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Cinderella’s glass slipper was shattered on a cold Wednesday night.

Steubenville Catholic Central, the seventh seed that upset No. 2 Coshocton in the Division III sectional soccer finals, dropped a 14-3 decision to top-seeded Rosecrans in a district semifinal on the artificial turf at Red Devil Stadium.

“Honestly, I’m really proud of my girls,” Central head coach Katrina Fabian admitted. “We hit them hard at the start, and I don’t think they expected to come in and have us fight as hard as we did. I told them ‘Ladies, I’ll be proud of you if just come out and do your best.’ And they did. That’s a good team that we were beaten by.”

The battle-tested Bishops (10-5) are trying to duplicate last season’s success when they advanced to the regional finals. The three goals scored by the Crusaders (4-14) were the first allowed in three postseason games this fall.

The Crusaders nearly scored in the first minute when Allie Zapolnik’s left-footed blast from the left wing was denied by Rosecrans goalkeeper Allie Berry. The rebound kicked out to the other side of the net, where Ali Grimm’s shot sailed wide right. They missed a penalty kick late in the first half.

“We had a couple of good shots right there, but we couldn’t get the ball in the net,” she said. “At the end of the day, what-ifs aren’t really anything compared to what actually happened, and what actually happened is they (Rosecrans) came back with a fire in the second half.

“We tried to return it; they connected and we didn’t.”

From there on it as was all Rosecrans.

Kailey Zemba netted five goals and added a pair of assists to lead the Bishops.

Kylan Harper added four goals and two helpers, while Claire Creeks had a hat trick. Sophie Stevens and Kiowa Pratt also found the back of the net.

Zapolnik tallied all three goals for the Crusaders, while Christine Dombrowski had an assist. Bri DeChristopher made 27 saves, many of the highlight reel variety.

“She was on fire tonight,” Fabian said of her freshman goalkeeper.

“She really kept it from being a lot worse. She’s a very coachable player, and I’m looking forward to having her back for three more years.”

Berry was only called upon to make five saves but was injured early in the second half. Haile Labishak relieved her and stopped three shots.