John Erardi reports:
It is called ‘‘the beautiful game’’ for a reason.
The Mason girls showed why in a 3-0 victory over Loveland Tuesday night in a ‘‘road to state’’ game at Kings High School.
So much of this spirited game was about the passing.
The three assists were, in order, from senior forward captain Alex Niehoff, junior midfielder Jill Vetere and senior forward Taylor Sheppard.
The three goals were scored, in order, by Vetere, senior forward Chloe Knue and Niehoff.
To appreciate what went into the plays, one must hear from the principals.
Goal 1 (Late in the first half) –
The feed was over the top of two defenders, and dropped directly in front of Vetere.
Niehoff: ‘‘In that situation, I’m just trying to get it to a forward, because I know they’re always up there making runs. I knew one of them would get on it. Jill really made a great run there. ‘’
The goal, Vetere: ‘‘I saw Alex with the ball, and I just started screaming for it. I knew she was going to get it to me. There was a girl on my left, and I was able to take the ball off my head, and cut the girl off and finish it with my right. Spot-on feed, setting it all up. Great ball by Alex.’’
Why it was so big, Vetere: ‘‘0-0. You never know if you’re going to have one opportunity or 10. You have to make the most of it.’’
Goal 2 (Early in the second half) –
The feed, Vetere: ‘‘Before the (second) half started, I told Chloe, ‘If you make a run, I’m going to find you. ‘ (The ball) came off a great tackle-in, and I found the loose ball and saw Chloe running past and was able to play it to her, just like I promised her I would.’’
The goal, Knue: ‘‘I knew Jill was going to find my feet; she always does. The goalie (came out and stopped it well out front on Knue’s right side of the goal), but I was able to stay with it and put it in.’’
Why it was so big, Knue: ‘‘1-0, I know they (Loveland Tigers) still felt like they were in it. But with the second goal, I knew we could start putting them away.’’’
Goal 3 (Middle of the second half) –
Feed of the night, Sheppard: ‘‘I got the ball from one of the backs. I turned immediately, because I knew I didn’t have anyone on me. I took a (couple of seconds) to see what I had, and that’s when I saw Alex cutting through the middle. I saw this little gap between the defenders, and was able to push it through. It was an awesome run, perfectly timed.’’
The goal, Niehoff: ‘‘Taylor had come off the bench early, and won a lot of balls, made a lot of great plays. Soon as I saw her with the ball, I knew she was going to do something great. I tried to make a run off of her, and she found the perfect (seam). I knew I had to score, because it was just me and the goalie.’’
Why It was so big, Vetere: ‘‘(Only) a 2-0 lead feels comfortable. But if (Loveland) scores one, they’re still in the game. When you score that third goal, the (opponents’) mentality sort of shuts down. ‘’
Mason is now in the Final Eight.
As of press time Tuesday, the Comets were scheduled to play — at 3 p.m. Saturday, at a site to be determined — the winner of Walnut Hills vs. St. Ursula.