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COLUMBIA CITY — The Columbia City Lady Eagle soccer squad used an explosive speed advantage and a dominating first half to run its record to 2-0 with a 4-1 win over the visiting Garrett Lady Railroaders Thursday.
The crowd at Max Gandy Athletic field didn’t have to wait long for the action to start as junior forward Sarah Opliger took a pass from Jessica Nierman, made a run up the right side and put the ball past the Garrett keeper with a shot to the far side. Opliger’s goal gave the Lady Eagles a 1-0 lead with only 34 seconds gone in the contest.
“Our philosophy is that in the first five minutes of the game we want to give 110 percent,” commented Columbia City coach Nicole Gebfert. “We want to be high pressure, high intensity to try and get the momentum going our way right away. We were able to do that with a goal in the first 30 some seconds and that set the goal for the entire first half.”
The Lady Eagles did just that as Nierman gave Columbia City a 2-0 lead at the 27:36 mark with a shot from about 20 yards out on the right side.
A minute and a half later, midfielder Katie Saillant, dribbled through three Garrett defenders in the middle of the field and put a shot past the keeper from about 12 yards out to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
Matching the speed advantage that the Eagles enjoyed at the forward spot, the City defense was able to draw up closer to midfield and consistently beat the Railroaders to the ball.
The Eagles dictated the pace of the game so thoroughly that the visiting Railroaders did not penetrate within 35 yards of the Columbia City goal for the first 25 minutes of the contest and only twice in the entire first half, getting off only a single shot.
The Eagles added another first half goal, when defender Jessica Bickle dribbled up the left hand side and beat the keeper with a shot to the far corner with 2:34 left in the first half, giving the Lady Eagles a 4-0 at the half.
The Lady Railroaders got their only goal off at the 16:35 mark of the second half, when Chelsea Zahner took a pass off a free kick and beat Eagle goalkeeper Corinna Raypole high and to the right corner.
The Eagle defense was able to close out the rest of the contest giving the hosts the 4-1 win and a 2-0 record heading into Monday night when they travel to Leo for a contest with the Lady Lions.