Britt Davis scored and goalie Landry Yankle preserved the 1-0 shutout.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
POLAND -- The Howland High girls soccer team hopes it hasn't seen the last of Poland.
After the Tigers lost both Metro Athletic Conference games to Poland this season, including Thursday's 1-0 decision at Poland High Stadium, coach Gary Anderson was left to ponder one last possible matchup.
"I can't wait until the tournament," Anderson said. "Hopefully, we'll get that far and get another crack at it."
Poland (8-1, 5-0 MAC) jumped to Division I this season by just one girl, coach Jim Sutman said.
One over: "We're used to playing Div. II," he said. "The cutoff point was 322 -- we had 323 -- but that doesn't matter. We don't see that as a bad thing. In girls soccer, there's not a lot of disparity [between divisions] like there is in football."
The Bulldogs followed their 3-0 shutout of Howland (7-2, 3-2) in the first game by doing it once again Thursday. Sophomore Britt Davis' first-half goal accounted for the scoring and sophomore keeper Landry Yankle capped the shutout with a late key save.
Davis found herself in the right place with 27 minutes, 31 seconds remaining before halftime.
"I kept preaching all week that we have to come out of the gates hard," Sutman said. "I still think the key to our victory in the first game was scoring against them early."
Poland junior Taryn Carlson sent a ball from about 20 yards out toward the Howland goal while Davis moved into position.
"It was a nice loft by Taryn," Davis said. "I thought it was going in."
But Howland junior keeper Darcy Quinlan was able to get a hand on the ball, which then bounced off the crossbar and down to Davis.
"I made the best of it," Davis said, "and put it into the back of the net."
Sutman said Davis, who scored her 10th goal, continues to improve at center forward.
"She's really playing physical, and that's what you have to do when you play that position," Sutman said. "Her being able to hold her own, receive the ball and make a quick shot is imperative."
With 16 minutes remaining, Anderson elected to move Quinlan to forward, partly because of a leg injury to sophomore Sarah Mangiarelli.
Single shot: One of the Tigers' best field players, Quinlan was able to get one shot during her time up front.
"Down one, you've got to try to get a goal somehow," Anderson said. "We were getting openings; we just couldn't hit [the goal]."
Howland's best opportunity late came on senior Leah Albani's hard shot with 4:15 remaining, but Yankle was there to corral the ball and preserve Poland's victory.
"We still have to play Canfield again, and that was a war. That will determine our MAC future," Sutman said. "The season's only about half over. We've got a lot of soccer left to play."