ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Edison girls' soccer team had opportunities to score throughout the game, but the Harrison Central defense was up to the challenge as the Huskies held the Wildcats without a goal for more than 73 minutes.
In the end, Edison netted two goals in a minute en route to a 3-0 victory in an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional semifinal Tuesday night at Red Devil Stadium.
"With 10 minutes left I was a little concerned," Edison (9-5-1) head coach Jeremy Angelo said. "Give Harrison Central credit. They had a game plan, and they stuck to it. We got frustrated.
"We had a bunch of opportunities. It was a good thing it is an 80-minute game. If it was a 60-minute game, we would have been in overtime.
"We controlled the game for the most part. We controlled the ball. We kept it on their end of the field. We just couldn't finish. You are going to have those nights.
"We kept playing. We didn't stop.
"We just had to place the ball into the net. If you look at the three goals, none of them killed it. They just touched it. They placed it into the net."
The Wildcats will now play in the sectional co-final against Beaver Local at noon Saturday. Beaver Local defeated East Liverpool, 2-0, in Tuesday night's second semifinal match.
This was the first year for the Huskies as a varsity team. Harrison Central had a club team last year.
"Our girls played great," Harrison Central (0-14) head coach Scott Ward said. "We didn't win a game this year. We were the No. 9 seed, and we played 73 minutes with the score 0-0 against the No. 2 seed.
"We were 0-13, but we never quit. We played 73 minutes without giving up a goal to the No. 2 seed in Division II. We stood up and played."
Bethanie Bube tallied two goals, and Kylie Long netted one for Edison.
Allie Byrley and Ashley Borsch each collected an assist. The first goal was unassisted.
Katie Oinonen made four saves in goal for the Wildcats.
"We used two goalies," Ward said of the pair, who combined for 13 saves. "Danielle Pittman played in the first half. She played great. Senior Dystanee Palmer played in the second half. She played great. She just gave up a couple of late goals.
"Our girls have to run a lot. We only have two subs. I try to give them breaks. This is a big field.
"I couldn't be more proud of how we finished this year. It couldn't be any better than this."
After several missed opportunities, the Wildcats finally got on the scoreboard when Long produced the first goal of the game with 6:25 left to play. Long's goal came off of a rebound.
The Wildcats added to their advantage exactly one minute later.
This time, Byrley sent a pass to Bube, who beat Palmer, to put Edison out in front, 2-0, with 5:25 showing on the scoreboard clock.
Edison netted its last goal of the game with nine seconds left to play. Bube scored for the second time with the assist going to Borsch.
Angelo knows about what it takes to build a program because he has done it at Edison. Angelo led the Wildcats to the Elite 8 for the first time in school history in 2011.
"I talked to the girls about that," Angelo said. "I told the girls 15 years ago we were 0-15 during the season, and we upset Catholic Central in the sectionals. I told them it could happen. It was very possible.
"The longer you go without scoring, they start gaining confidence. They came to play. We came to play too we just couldn't finish."
Edison also defeated Harrison Central during the regular season this year.
"They beat us 5-1," Ward said. "They scored early. Tonight, our defense stood tall. We held out. We were only tied in one game at halftime, and we gave it up. I don't mean to keep talking about the 73 minutes, but we kept them without a goal for that long.
"That is big. They are an established program."
Harrison Central improved throughout the season.
"The biggest part is that the girls are 100 percent in. The administration is 100 percent behind us.
"The boosters and the parents are 100 percent in. The parents, they did anything we asked them to do. The parents were great. They made sure the girls got to practice. I think we are going to be a force to reckon with as early as next season."
Angelo agreed that the Huskies will become a team to deal with in the near future.
"It all depends how long it will take," he said. "If you have girls who come in who are soccer players who have played the game before and know how to play the game, it is just a matter of refining their skills.
"I know they had a couple of girls who have played before. They also have a bunch of new players. It is going to take a couple of years, but they are on the right track.
"Their coach said they have improved all year, and you can see it. They work hard. Their skills have gotten better. Harrison Central is going to become a force.
"If you look at all of their sports, Harrison Central is competitive in everything. This is only their second year. They may be down for a year or two, but it seems like in three or four years they have turned it around. They are competitive, and they beat people. You have to give the school district credit.
"If you look at football, their first few years they weren't very good, but now they are competitive. They are beating people. Look at baseball. They made it to the state quarterfinals last year. They are good in softball. They are good in track. They are good in basketball. In a couple of years, they are going to be a different program."
Harrison Central is only losing two seniors from this year's team - Bree Albaugh and Palmer.
"They have meant a lot," said Ward.
"Bree and Dystanee have been good leaders. We were a club team last year. They have provided good leadership. They have pushed the freshmen."
"One of the seniors took one of the young girls under her wing. She couldn't really run. She worked with her, and now she has picked up four or five steps.
"We have seven girls who have never played before. They are coming along. We had a very good year.
"I want to thank the parents. I want to thank the boosters, and I want to thank the school board. The girls really represented Harrison Central well."
Angelo said the Huskies level of play had improved from the first meeting until Tuesday night's match.
"The first time we played we beat them 7-0," he said.
Edison and Beaver Local have met multiple times in the postseason.
The Wildcats defeated the Beavers in overtime four years ago. Two years ago, Edison defeated Beaver Local in double overtime. Last season, the Beavers defeated the Wildcats in a shootout.
"I don't think they lost a lot," Angelo said about the Beavers. "I think they have got the majority of the team back from last year. Their coach does a nice job. They play a nice schedule. They aren't coming down here just to play. They are coming down here to win. They are going to compete."