By Ryan Jones
Sam Robertson scored twice for Poland in a 4-1 win over Canfield.
CANFIELD — Poland High girls soccer coach John Cavalier knew his team would get its fair share of shots on goal, but he wasn’t sure those shots would come at the most opportune time.
“We’ve outshot just about everybody we’ve played,” Cavalier said. “But one problem we’ve had is pulling the trigger. Sometimes we wait too long before we fire the shot.”
In Poland’s 4-1 victory Monday over rival Canfield, the Bulldogs had no issues firing at will as they connected on three goals from more than 20 yards away.
Poland will play at Howland in the Division I district final on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Cavalier said it was tough to face Canfield for the third time this season. The teams split their regular season meetings, each winning on the road.
“It’s always a hard fought match,” Cavalier said. “When we played Canfield the first time and lost, we played well at times, but didn’t finish the game.
“Tonight, we wanted to play. The girls are psyched with the victory. This is a close knit team, with 32 kids on the roster it’s like we’re a family.”
Junior Jordan Palumbo put the Bulldogs on the board when she looped a shot from the right side that bounced off of Jackie Podolsky’s hands and into the net.
Poland took a 3-0 less than two minutes into the second half as midfielder Tatum Marucci drilled the top left corner of the goal from 25 yards out.
Samantha Robertson scored the second of her two goals to put Poland up 4-0. The senior went top shelf over the head over goalkeeper Anokha Padubidri.
Canfield coach Phil Simone said he thought the game was closer than the score indicated.
“Of those four goals, a few of them were perfectly placed shots,” Simone said. “It was unfortunate that Poland hit those shots. We were close a couple of times on offense, but couldn’t get off a good shot.”
The Bulldogs started their season 3-4, but have gone 10-0-1 since.
“We caught fire after falling to 3-4,” Cavalier said. “We are a very young team and are peaking at the right time. During this stretch our defense has been great. We have some athletes with speed at the back end. Junior Madison Gessler is the leader of the group, senior Rachael Cooper has really come on this year, and Taylor Marucci is a track athlete with good speed.”
Simone, who is in his first year as Canfield’s coach, said although his team is young it will miss the services of the three seniors.
“Molly Martin is the heart and soul of the team,” he said. “She led the team in scoring. Anokha [Padubidri] was a solid keeper. She played for the first time in three weeks tonight after suffering a broken finger. “Shea Price played phenomenal today in the middle. She won a lot of balls tonight. All three were three year starters and will be hard to replace.”
Rachel Morris broke up the shutout bid when she scored on a pass from Kendyl Carlisle with 58 seconds remaining.