Ten local players doing their job for Express soccer
Owens Community College forward Jessica Grindle (Northwood) scored three goals and added one assist to lead the Express women's soccer team past Mercyhurst North East, 7-0.
This was the first multiple goal game for Grindle, a sophomore who had previously scored eight career goals in separate games. It was the third time in her career that she recorded at least one goal and one assist. She now has a team-high five goals this year. Her seven points mark the fourth most in a single game in Express women's soccer history.
However, the scoring was done by a list of local players that looks like a Who’s Who from the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Soccer Team. There are 10 former local prep players on Owen’s team that were All-Press selections at one time or another.
Sophomores include Grindle, defender Tara Preble (Lake), forward/midfielder Taylor Avers (Woodmore), defender Marissa Ramirez (Northwood), and midfieler/defender Samantha Starkey (Eastwood), midfielder Kelly Zurvalec (Oak Harbor).
Freshmen include midfielder Abby Groll (Clay), forward/midfielder Kendyl Christian (Clay),
In comparison, the Northern Lakes League, considered one of the best in the state, has three players — sophomore forward/midfielder Haley Gasser (Sylvania Northview), sophomore defender Elizabeth Theaker (Maumee), and freshman defender Lacee Ortman (Sylvania Southview), so the majority of Coach Mary Whisler’s Toledo metro area players are coming from this side of town.
The Express (3-2 overall) traveled to Adrian, Michigan to take on Siena Heights University's JV team on Sept. 13. Their next home game is Sept. 18 against Cincinnati State Technical and Community College at 4 p.m.
The Express offense peppered Mercyhurst North East's goalkeeper, Olivia Shear, all day. While the Express outshot Mercyhurst 31-0, they also posted a 10-0 advantage in corner kicks. The game marked the second shutout of the season for the Express defense.
Grindle got the Express out to a 2-0 lead early as she scored just 4:30 and 6:31 into the game. Later, Gasser scored her second goal of the season with just under four minutes left in the first half to give the Express a 3-0 lead at the break.
Gasser assisted on Grindle's first goal, while Brittany Powell assisted on Grindle's second goal. Gasser's goal came when she stole the ball from a defender and lofted a nice shot over the goalkeeper's head.
In the second half, the Express continued to pressure the Mercyhurst North East defense. Their first goal of the half came when Soncrant was fouled deep in Mercyhurst territory in the 52nd minute. Theaker took the free kick and directed it into the top left corner of the net for her first career goal.
The next goal came in the 60th minute when Grindle crossed a shot from the left, which Groll headed in for her first goal of the season.
The Express went up 6-0 when Starkey scored her first career goal in the 64th minute. Ramirez headed the ball off a corner kick to Starkey, who delivered the shot.
Grindle then drilled a laser of a shot into the top corner of the net in the 70th minute to finish the scoring. Lacee Ortman picked up her first assist on the goal.
Erika Brinkman started in goal for the Express. She did not face a shot on goal in the game's first 81 minutes before being replaced by Soncrant for the rest of the game.
Soncrant saw her first minutes of the season in goal during this game. The backup goalkeeper spends most of her time at midfield for the Express.
Theaker now has one career goal to go along with an assist she had last year. Powell and Groll now have one goal and one assist in their first year with the Express. Ramirez picked up her second career assist.
Ramirez nearly scored her first career goal late in the game on a header off a corner kick, but the ball hit the crossbar and was cleared out.
In another game, Christian’s late goal wasn't enough as the Express women's soccer team dropped a 3-1 home decision to Schoolcraft College today.
The lone goal for the Express came at the 73:21 mark when Tara Preble made a strong move against a defender to retain possession on the right sideline and made a cross to Christian, who scored her second goal in the past two games. Schoolcraft, however, had previously scored at the 14:54, 56:43 and 64:05 marks.
Earlier in the season, Jill Burkholder and Haley Kreger each scored a goal as the Express women's soccer team defeated No. 11 Muskegon Community College 2-1. Grindle got her first assist of the season on Kreger's goal. Burkholder's goal was unassisted Kreger scored about 20 minutes into the game as the Express took an early 1-0 lead.
The Express got a little revenge as Muskegon ended the season for the Express last year in the Region XII tournament with a last minute goal.
In a 5-0 win over Lake Michigan College, Gasser, who missed all but one and a half games last year due to injury, scored the team's first goal in a 5-0 win over Lake Michigan College.
Gasser deposited the ball into the top right corner of the net on a shot from near the left sideline to put her team up 1-0 with 22:01 left in the half. The goal, which came on an assist from Abby Groll, would spark an offensive onslaught for the Express.
Just less than six minutes later, with 16:16 left in the half, Burkholder was taken down in the box and converted the ensuing penalty kick for a 2-0 lead. With 7:24 left, Grindle put one past the goalkeeper before Brittany Powell raced down the left sideline and beat her defender and the goalkeeper for a goal with 1:47 left in the half.
Gasser took a medical redshirt last year after producing a team-high 15 assists as a freshman two years ago.