Addyson Dowler of Crestview dibbles the ball up field on Thursday night. (DHI Media/Wyatt Richardson)
Addyson Dowler of Crestview dibbles the ball up field on Thursday night. (DHI Media/Wyatt Richardson)

CONVOY — In Thursday night’s big Crestview/Spencerville girls soccer matchup, the Lady Knights proved that their sudden 2019 turnaround is no fluke, keeping the ball in their offensive end a huge majority of the time and getting more shots — 18 (five on goal) to the Bearcats’ 15 (eight on goal).

Unfortunately for Crestview, the defending NWC champion Bearcats won the match 3-1, thanks to some gutsy defenders and the breakaway offense of junior forward Emma Leis and senior forward Kelsey Shaffer. Spencerville is now 4-1-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the NWC. Crestview is 4-1-0 and 2-1-0.

Indicative of Crestview’s turnaround is the fact that during the Lady Knights’ eight seasons in NWC soccer prior to 2019, they had gone 5-37-5. Crestview hadn’t won a conference match since 2013. Spencerville has been involved in NWC girls soccer only two seasons, during which the ‘Cats have gone 10-2-1. NWC girls soccer started in 2011.

Although the Knights had the ball in their offensive end most of the time Thursday night, the congestion in the box and some clutch clears by Spencerville defenders allowed almost no high percentage shots. With 31:05 on the first half clock, Crestview freshman Kately Castle ripped a straightaway 20-yarder that hit the crossbar, but there were no more good chances for the home team in the first 40 minutes.

With 30:00 left in the first half, speedsters Shaffer and Leis broke away, and Shaffer fed Leis who blasted a straightaway 20-yard grounder into the left side of the net for a 1-0 lead. The same twosome duplicated that feat at 1:03 to take a 2-0 lead into halftime.

It was more of the same in the second half with the Knights controlling the ball, but the Bearcats fast breaking for another goal. That one came with 32:41 on the clock by Shaffer, who out-maneuvered her defender and poked a nifty eight-yarder off the right side of her foot into the right corner of the net.

Crestview got on the board with 8:10 on the clock when senior exchange student Louisa Hoppe blasted a low percentage 20-yard shot from a sharp right side angle into the upper left corner of the net.

Neither goalkeeper, Crestview senior McKenna Thompson or Spencerville senior Kottia Williams, had any difficult saves. However, Williams on several occasions won close races with Knights for loose balls in front of her net.

Goals:

10:00 — Emma Leis (SV) — assisted by Kelsey Shaffer. 0-1.

38:57 — Leis — assisted by Shaffer. 0-2.

47:19 — Shaffer unassisted. 0-3.

71:50 — Louisa Hoppe (CV) unassisted. 1-3.

Shots: CV 18, SV 15.

Shots on goal: CV 5, SV 8.

Corner kicks: CV 8, SV 2.

Saves: McKenna Thompson (CV) 5, Kottia Williams (SV) 3.