Howland blanks Boardman, 3-0
BOARDMAN — It took a little less than three hours to play thanks to an hour weather delay, but when the dust settled or the rain, thunder, and lightning for that matter, the Howland Tigers walked away with a 3-0 victory Monday night over the Boardman Spartans in All-American Conference play.
Three different players got into the scoring column for the Tigers (3-4, 1-2) as they spread the field with their flanks and attacked the Boardman defenders all night.
“We came into the day with the intention of utilizing our flank players, quite a bit,” Howland coach Greg Mitchell said. “It was working in the beginning. We had quite a few opportunities, which led to the first goal as well as the second.”
That first goal came off the foot of Eva Andamasaris a little less than 15 minutes into the game.
Then with 20:53 left in the first half, the weather came and delayed the contest for over an hour.
Coming back onto the field at 8:28, the Tigers didn’t really miss a beat as they continued to attack Boardman keeper Faith Walston.
“They played really wide and overloaded the back posts,” Boardman coach Mark D’Eramo said. “That’s how a lot of their goals came, which is solid play from them. They’re a good team. We had an injury and then the rain stoppage. We had some adversity today but our girls fought through it. We got some positive things out there and that’s what we’re gonna focus on.”
Gemma Mariani’s goal increased the Howland goal with 7:18 until halftime.
Mitchell felt the Tigers could have had a few more early on, but the weather delay interfered a bit with the game plan.
“When we stuck to that we were pretty successful,” he added. “For the most part I thought we did a pretty good job possessing the ball. The nice thing is that we’ve been struggling to score goals, so to put a few in the net and then most importantly now to not give up any as well two games in a row, it’s good.”
That defensive showing was more impressive as Howland had two players that are new to the center back position.
Mitchell felt like it had taken them some time to gel, but that wasn’t obvious Monday night.
“I still think we are making some errors,” Mitchell said. “They didn’t cost us tonight. We’re gonna have to continue cleaning that up during the course of the season, but for the most part they’ve been doing a pretty good job. Most importantly, starting the possession for us from the backline.”
The possession game was strong all night for the Tigers as they controlled the tempo despite weather delays and new players.
Boardman (4-6, 1-3) had just two shots on goal thanks in large part to the Howland defense.
D’Eramo expected that to be the case.
“We knew that we weren’t going to have many quote unquote shots because their goalie is so good with her feet,” he said. “A lot of things that would be shots their goalie clears with her feet. The two shots, their keeper, swept up quite a few as well because she’s a great keeper. We knew that we were going to have to really take advantage of those.”
Howland got a little insurance when Ava Yannucci scored less than five minutes into the second half to push the Howland lead to 3-0.
Walston held her own with six saves and gave the Spartans chances to keep plugging away.
“Six saves but how many did she save with her feet that don’t count as a save,” D’Eramo said. “She cleared a ton of opportunities. She really had a strong game. She is quickly becoming one the best goalies in the area. I think she had a really strong game today and I don’t think three goals is very indicative of her performance.”