ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Beaver Local completed the three-peat.
In a game that proved to be everything everyone expected, sophomore midfielder Hannah Hughes scored a goal off of a free to kick in the second half to lift the Beaver Local girls' soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Edison in a Div. II sectional final on a cool Saturday afternoon at Red Devil Stadium.
"We have started a little bit of legacy with Beaver Local girls' soccer," Beaver Local (10-7-1) head coach Liz Connor said. "The boys' team has had success in the past, and we have been able to have some success in the last few years."
Beaver Local will play Minerva in the district semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Red Devil Stadium. Minerva advanced to Tuesday night's match by defeating Carrollton 4-2 in Saturday's second sectional final.
"We played Minerva during the regular season," Connor said. "Minerva beat us 2-0 in a close-fought match."
The Beavers' victory over the Wildcats (9-6-1) gave Beaver Local its third-straight sectional title.
"Our games against Edison are always tough," Connor said. "I'm just glad we were able to win it in regulation time this year."
The last meetings between the Beavers and the Wildcats have gone to overtime. In 2009, Edison defeated Beaver Local in overtime. Two years ago, the Wildcats defeated the Beavers in double overtime. Last year, the girls from Columbiana County defeated the girls from Jefferson County in a shootout.
"We knew it was going to be a close game," Edison head coach Jeremy Angelo said. "We knew it was going to be a battle. We knew they were going to have opportunities, and we knew we were going to have opportunities. We knew somebody was going to win, and somebody was going to lose.
"The effort was there. The girls came to play. Sometimes you have a little luck. Sometimes you don't."
Beaver Local was awarded a free kick just outside the penalty box with a little more than 24 minutes left to play in the match. Junior midfielder Haley Tomlinson took the kick, and she sent it out wide to Hughes, who lofted a shot into the upper-far corner of the goal to put the Beavers out in front.
"We talk about looking at all of the options," Connor said. "Haley saw our outside wing was not marked, and Haley was able to get the ball to her."
The Wildcats spent the remainder of the game pushing forward in hopes of scoring the equalizers. Edison had a couple of good opportunities in the final-few minutes of the match, but the Beaver Local defense was able to shut the door.
"You got 80 minutes," Angelo said. "If you don't score and the other team does the game is over.
"I thought we had the better opportunities. We just couldn't put any way. They had one good opportunity, and they were able to put it away."
Both teams took seven shots in the game. The Beavers took five shots on goal, while the Wildcats took four. The girls in the white jerseys took 13 goal kicks in the game, while the girls in the red jerseys took six. Both teams took one corner kick. Both corners were taken in the second half.
Senior Maranda Kiddey made four saves in goal for the Beavers, while the Wildcats' Katie Oinonen also made four saves.
"They had the free kick, and they had a pass to set up the shot," Angelo said. "It was a nice shot. She kicked it into the far post in the upper corner. We had an opportunity to save it, but it was a nice shot into the corner.
"Katie played well. She made some good saves. She came out. For someone who was only playing their 16th game as a goalkeeper, she did a pretty-good job today."
Beaver Local advanced to the sectional final by defeating rival East Liverpool 2-0 on Tuesday night. The Beavers scored a goal in each half en route to their victory over the Potters for the third time this season.
Edison advanced to the co-final by shutting out Harrison Central, 3-0, in Tuesday night's first sectional match. The Wildcats scored all three of their goals in the final 6:10 of the game to defeat the Huskies for the second time this season.
"We watched them play against Harrison Central Tuesday night," Connor said. "They seemed to do pretty much what they have done in the past."
Beaver Local won sectional titles the past two seasons, the Beavers have been unable to make it past the district tournament and into the regional tournament. Beaver Local has lost in the district co-final in each of the past two seasons.
"This year is different," Connor said. "This year we will be playing next in the district semifinals. It is nice we will not have to go as far as we did last year.
"It looks like there is going to be another team dinner in our future."
The Lions stand in the way of the Beavers as the Beaver Local looks to make it to the district final for the third-straight season.
"We focus on what we can control," Connor said. "We can't control the refs. We control what the other team does. We can only control how we play and our technical ability."