ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Beavers were unable to tame the Lions.
The Minerva girls soccer team tallied two goals in the first half, and the Lions were able to hold off a late charge by Beaver Local to hold on for a 2-1 victory Tuesday night in a Division II district semifinal at Red Devil Stadium.
"This is a tough one," Beaver Local coach Liz Connor said. "The first half belonged to Minerva. In the second half, we were able to turn up the heat, but we were only able to find the back of the net once."
Minerva (11-5-3) will now play in the district final against West Holmes at 1 p.m. Saturday at Dover High School.
"That was too much pressure," Minerva head coach Nicole Chaddock said. "The girls stayed strong. They didn't lose focus. They didn't quit. We just couldn't get any of our shots to go in.
"I am very proud of the girls. They stuck with it."
Maddie Siedschlaw and Lauren Haynam each netted goals for the Lions. Josie Chaddock contributed an assist.
Hannah Hughes scored the lone goal for the Beavers, who finished the season at 10-7-1. Kylie Severs recorded the assist.
Caitlin Rodgers made one save in goal for Minerva.
Maranda Kiddey made 14 saves for Beaver Local.
The Lions defeated the Beavers, 2-0, during the regular season.
"Not really," Coach Chaddock said asked if either team did anything differently in Tuesday's meeting as compared to the first one. "We had the same lineup. We had the same practice we did last time. We played our game."
Connor also said there wasn't much difference in the two matches.
"Not that I noticed," she said.
The Lions outshot the Beavers, 20-3. Minerva took 16 shots on goal, while Beaver Local took two. Minerva took seven goal kicks, while Beaver Local took five. The Lions took eight corner kicks, while the Beavers took five.
The game was scoreless for more than 11 minutes before Siedschlaw collected the first goal of the game off of an assist by Josie Chaddock to put the Lions up 1-0 with 28:24 left to play in the first half.
Minerva added to its lead less than seven minutes later.
The Lions had the ball deep in Beaver Local territory. The Beavers tried to clear the ball out of harm's way, but the ball rolled to Haynam who ripped a shot through the Beaver Local defense and past Kiddey, who was screened on the shot.
The goal gave the Lions a 2-0 advantage with 21:36 still to play before halftime.
The girls from Carroll County carried the two-goal advantage into halftime.
The Beavers battled back to cut their deficit in half less than 12 minutes into the second half. Severs sent a pass across the field to Hughes, who knocked the ball into the net to make the score 2-1 with 28:58 left to play in the match.
The game was the final one for Beaver Local's four seniors. The Beavers' seniors are Hannah Cochran, Chandler Hoppel, Paige Prologo and Kiddey. Cochran and Prologo were two of the Beavers' three captains this season.
"This group of seniors was fun to be with," Connor said. "They were good leaders.
"We definitely changed this season. We only won two games during the regular season last season, and we won eight during the regular season this year."
Some of the seniors are considering trying to play at the next level.
"A few of them are considering it," Connor said. "Nothing is certain."
The other captain was junior Haley Tomlinson. Tomlinson netted a goal, and she tallied an assist during the sectional tournament.
Beaver Local defeated East Liverpool, 2-0, in the sectional semifinals last Tuesday at Red Devil Stadium, and Beaver Local defeated Edison, 1-0, in the sectional co-finals this past Saturday. Tomlin scored the Beavers' first goal of the game against the Potters on a penalty kick, and she assisted on the Beavers' goal in their victory over the Wildcats.
Hughes scored the game-winning goal against Edison.
Beaver Local has won three-straight sectional titles.
Minerva defeated Cambridge, 6-1 in the sectional semifinals last Wednesday, and Minerva defeated Carrollton, 4-2, in the second co-final of the day last Saturday.
Minerva has won two-straight sectional titles. The difference between the Beavers and the Lions is that Beaver Local defeated Minerva, 6-1, in a sectional final in 2011 at Red Devil Stadium.
Last year, the Knights defeated the Lions, 4-1, in the district final in a match played at Philo.
"They are a good team," Coach Chaddock said. "They have good foot skills. We are looking for revenge."
Most of the girls on the Minerva roster played last season.
"We have two freshmen who didn't play last year, and a couple of seniors," Coach Chaddock said. "This is the first year they came out."
The Lions are looking forward to playing in Dover.
"It is nice the game is closer in Dover instead of having to go all of the way to Philo," Coach Chaddock said. "I am proud of how the girls played. They kept fighting even though they got frustrated from not being able to score. That is frustrating.
"I am very proud of them. Now, we have to get ready for Saturday."