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Bolster leads Crusader girls to sectional crown

STEUBENVILLE — Players step up their level of play in the postseason.

Becca Bolster collected two goals to lead the No. 3 seed Catholic Central girls soccer team to a 3-0 victory against No. 6 seed Ridgewood in a Division III Eastern District sectional final/district quarterfinal on a rainy Tuesday on the Tony Recinella Soccer Field.

The victory was the Crusaders first win in the postseason since 2017.

“Absolutely, it was a big win for us,” Catholic Central (7-7-2) head coach Jonathan Hoover said. “We focused all week on playing better. The conditions were not he best, but I think conditions helped us a little bit.”

The win was Catholic Central’s second this season against Ridgewood. The Crusaders defeated the Generals, 2-1, on Sept. 5 on the road.

“We were hoping for a better result today,” Ridgewood (2-11-1) head coach Tim Tubbs said. “The girls played hard. I am proud of them.”

With the win, Catholic Central will play No. 2 seed Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans in the district semifinals Wednesday on the road. Bishop Rosecrans defeated No. 8 seed Edison, 7-0, Tuesday night to advance to face the Crusaders.

“We are going to give them a couple days of rest,” Hoover said about his team’s plan heading into the game against the Bishops. “We are going to treat practice as normal. We want to take the pressure off of the girls.

“I am definitely happy. I am proud of the girls. We just want to keep going.”

Catholic Central tallied two goals in the first half and one in the second.

“I don’t think either team did anything different,” Tubbs said. “Steubenville took advantage of their opportunities, and we didn’t. We had some good, long passes, but we could not get on the other end of them. Steubenville took advantage of their opportunities. My hat is off to them.”

The Crusaders played as a team, en route to their victory against the Generals.

“I think for us, the difference in the games was we played better team soccer today than we did at the beginning of the year,” Hoover said. “In the first game, we scored two goals in the first half, but after that we could not finish. Becca stepped up huge for us. In the first game, we did not see that. Ridgewood played better. Ridgewood had better control of the ball. It was a well-fought game.”

Lindsey Decker delivered the lone assist of the day for the Crusaders. The assist came in the first half on Bolster’s first goal. Bolster’s goal in the second was unassisted.

Catholic Central’s second goal of the first half came as a result of an own goal.

Bre DeChristopher made eight saves in goal for the Crusaders. Ally Blevins made seven saves for the Generals.

Ridgewood has had to deal with injuries all season.

“It is not that I wish this is the end of our season — I wish our season was not over and we were going to play again next week, but 2020 has not been a good year,” Tubbs said. “We had a lot of injuries. We were not able to come together and play.”

The Generals have seven seniors on their roster.

Catholic Central, the No. 7 seed, defeated No. 6 seed Coshocton, 5-4, in overtime on Oct. 19, 2017 for its last postseason victory.

“Winning this game does mean a lot,” Hoover said. “Last year was a rough year. This year we came in as the No. 3 seed, and we were able to get a home game. That rule has changed since I last coached. Being able to win this first game shows we are moving in the right direction.”

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