If any team looked capable of putting a second loss on Eisenhower’s record this season, it was probably Ford, just not the way it transpired Wednesday evening.
The Falcons never looked back in a 5-1 victory over Ike, ranked second in the state in Division 1.
To put it in perspective, the Eagles (13-2, 5-1 MAC Red) had given up a combined five goals over their 12-game winning streak that was ended by Ford, who lost to Eisenhower 1-0 when the two teams met previously on May 1.
Sophomore Nicole Fiantaco capitalized on a pair of errors in the first half to put the Falcons (13-1-3, 4-1-2) at a twogoal advantage heading into halftime.
“When the game started, we had opportunities and missed a few, and made two big mistakes,” Eisenhower coach Mehrdad Nekoogar said. “On one, the two defenders in the back looked at each other and thought the other one was going to get it and their player grabbed it. The second one, my player thought the ball was out and stopped completely, and they took the ball and scored.”
On other nights, the shot by Bella Jodzis less than eight minutes after the restart that was struck powerfully from just outside the 18-yard box would’ve been enough to kick-start a comeback, but Ford sophomore goalkeeper Emma Boutorwick made a diving stop to her left to prevent her team’s lead from being sliced.
Junior Julie Ann Piechocki recorded her team’s other brace that came just 40 seconds apart almost midway through the second half, the first at the 24:11 mark on a cross from several yards within the endline that looked intended for teammate at the back post but reached the back of the net.
“When you’re behind 2-0, you push everyone up, and we didn’t focus on defense in the second half,” Nekoogar said.
Ike continued to press for a goal with balls over the top, nearly converting with 13:45 left when freshman Meike Ingles had Boutorwick beat, but her chip played overhead went just a yard or two wide right of the post.
Instead, freshman Jenna Vasquez lofted a right-footed shot from 20 yards out for the Falcons’ final score with under four minutes to go.
The Eagles did manage a fine consolation goal in the last several minutes when senior Jillian Winarski drilled a low free kick from just outside the 18 that went around the wall and out of the reach of Boutorwick.
Nekoogar emphasized that his team’s mindset would’ve been vastly different if the Eagles didn’t already essentially have the division title wrapped up.
“Obviously, it was hard at the beginning to get the team going knowing they almost have it in their pockets winning the MAC [Red],” Nekoogar said. “For Ford, like any other team, they haven’t beaten us in the last five or six years. They were going to come and play hard with nothing to lose.”
“You’re going to see a different team when the playoff starts.”