Note: This sports recap appears in the Wednesday, Oct. 16 newspaper on Page B1.
CIRCLEVILLE — The tournament seedings came out on Sunday and Jackson saw its fate. Now it was time to start gaining more momentum.
After enduring its third tie of the season against Alexander, the Ironladies (8-5-3) got back into the winning column with a 2-0 victory over Circleville on Oct. 9.
“This was probably one of the roughest and toughest games that we’ve played all season,” Jackson coach Jon Groff said. “It’s a great win for us having just one game left against Miami Trace before heading into tournaments. This was a good test for us physically and I couldn’t be happier with how we played.”
Circleville played a very aggressive style and had no problems getting physical with the Ironladies to establish dominance.
However, they made adjustments on the fly and decided to fight physicality with physicality.
“We were being physical, but I told the girls that we needed to pass the ball and possess better to get around the physicality,” Groff said. “I thought we adjusted nicely and made quicker decisions with the ball at our feet as the game went along.”
That style didn’t lead to many shots in the first 30 minutes, just one apiece for each team. So Jackson decided to shoot from deep a few times to move Circleville’s defense up a little.
All of that led to a corner kick for the Ironladies and through the cluster of players, Kirsten Evans got the ball and put it in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
“I’ve always thought the team who scores first just has more momentum and energy to score another one,” senior forward Brynlee Vermillion said. “Kirsten’s goal did that for us and it made us want to play faster coming out of the half.”
Coming out of the half, the Ironladies didn’t waste anytime wanting to get some insurance.
Taylor Thorpe took the free kick and booted it into the box where Brynlee Vermillion was patiently waiting.
The senior forward pushed the ball unorthodoxly past the goal with her body and pushed the lead up to 2-0 less than two minutes into the second half.
“I don’t exactly know how, but I was able to sort of get my shoulder on the ball,” Vermillion said. “It bounced off a couple players, rolled and went in the net.
“This is a good win for us. It just gives us the encouragement we need to finish strong and get ready for Tuesday’s tournament game.”
From that point on, it was a sprint to the finish. Circleville tried to take its offense up a notch, but Jackson was right there to stop any momentum the Tigers hoped to gain.
“Circleville had a couple quick girls up front so we talked about sagging back and always keeping two back with our sweeper,” Groff said. “We knew they were looking to get the ball over the top, and we wanted to prevent that this way they couldn’t use their speed.”
Jackson, who earned a No. 6 seed, focuses on Division II tournament action on Tuesday at No. 3 seeded Waverly.
“I’ve seen Waverly play a couple times and they’re a really solid team,” Groff said. “They have two outstanding players, one who plays midfield and the other on the wing who can finish into the net. As long as we can maintain and mark them and know where they are, I think we’ll be just fine.”