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Norwalk's tie wraps up third straight outright Lake title

By JOSH MORGRET • Updated Oct 1, 2019 at 2:20 AM

NORWALK — Simply put, the Norwalk girls soccer program has controlled the Sandusky Bay Conference Lake division for almost three years.

And Monday, the Truckers were in control for the first 71 minutes against visiting Perkins.

But the Pirates' Lexie Wiedenheft scored with just a little over eight minutes left to bring the game to a 1-1 tie — and that was the way it finished.

Despite the tie, Norwalk improved to 11-2-1 overall and 7-0-1 in SBC Lake action, clinching its third straight outright league championship. The tie did snap an unbeaten streak in the league for the Truckers, however, who had won all 23 SBC Lake matches they’ve played since 2017 entering Monday.

"It is a bittersweet victory," Norwalk coach Michelle Sandor said. "We are still undefeated in the conference. We played a great game. Perkins played a great game. Give credit to them on their energy and their refusal to give up."

Wiedenheft scored off of a free kick for the Pirates (10-1-2, 6-1-1) with 8:34 left. Perkins also had two corner kicks in the last 90 seconds and a shot off a header by Olivia Howard was saved by Norwalk goalie Makaila White with about seven seconds left.

"I think we had a lot of opportunities in the first half getting in behind the defense," Perkins coach Elizabeth Hill said. "It was not the right distance. We were overshooting it right to the keeper every time."

The Truckers wasted little time scoring in the first half. After a shot by Alina Bigler was saved by Perkins goalie Faith Fultz, Nyah Daniels received a cross and booted home the goal less than 10 minutes in.

"Nyah was in the right place at the right time," Sandor said. "Most of the work came from the left side. She played the cross in and Nyah was in the right place to follow it in the goal."

Both teams played tough, physical defense the rest of the first half. The best chance either team had was negated by an offsides call. That was with eight minutes to go when Howard slipped by the Norwalk defense, but the play was whistled dead.

"We have had four games in the last eight days now," Hill said. "There was not a whole lot of time for practicing strategy against (Daniels). That being said, our girls did well on the fly."

In the second half, the Truckers' Gwen Olcott had a left-footed shot saved. About four minutes later, Howard got a shot off that was stopped. Norwalk had consecutive shots in the 59th minute get turned away and Howard was stopped again with 12 minutes left.

"We had trouble possessing the ball in the second half," Sandor said. "We played a little bit too much kickball and not enough possession, and that kind of hurt us."

Norwalk won the first meeting at Perkins by a narrow 3-2 score. Neither coach was surprised by the lower scoring game.

"We like playing on grass," Sandor said. "Even though we have speed, we seem to play better on grass. I think we are more confident on grass because that is how we train."

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