COLUMBUS — Playing at the home of the Columbus Crew professional soccer team, an inspired Blanchester girls soccer team opened its season Saturday with a 0-0 draw against Batavia.

Despite being scoreless, the match at MAPFRE Stadium “brought out inspired play from both opponents … was not indicative of the level of play, as both teams created several scoring chances,” BHS coach Kurt Ballinger said.

The inspirational leader on the day for the Ladycats was unable to finish the game, however. Savana Greene was injured making a pair of tackles late in the first half and did not return.

“Batavia closed in on a sure goal before Greene raced back to make two consecutive tackles that rescued (us) from danger, but left her injured and unable to return to the game,” he said. “Greene’s gutsy and spectacular play undoubtedly preserved the shutout, and inspired her teammates to keep up the intensity, as nobody wanted to let her down after she was willing to sacrifice everything for the team. We are crossing our fingers for a speedy recovery as Greene is a linchpin to what we do defensively.”

Senior Audrey Jordan, junior Bekah Sams and freshmen Emily Hinkle generated quality opportunities in the first half utilizing the wide major league pitch to attack Batavia with long through balls past the defense. Blanchester finished with 16 shots, including a penalty kick.

Ladycats goalkeeper Chloe Caplinger made 14 saves with “several under great duress,” Ballinger said.

Blan’s back defensive line of juniors Emma Gundler, Mckenzie Miller and Merri Lindsey also contributed to that shutout with their high level of play, Ballinger added.

Staff Report