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    Inspired Badgers pummel Conneaut in sectional final

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    It’s never a good idea to give a future opponent bulletin board material, especially in the postseason.

    Conneaut learned that the hard way after host Berkshire pummeled the Spartans in a Division III sectional championship game on Thursday, 11-1.

    Back on Oct. 3, the Northeast District Athletic Board released the results of its online seeding and in a bit of a shock, Conneaut’s coach voted for Garrettsville Garfield as the No. 1 seed and for Berkshire as the No. 6 seed, despite the Badgers’ 4-0 win at Garfield two days earlier. Even more surprising, the Spartans voted themselves as the No. 3 seed in the tournament.

    Berkshire, who ended up with the No. 3 seed, responded to the voting snub by scoring six first half goals and the Badgers added five more in the second half to end Conneaut’s season.

    “The girls were inspired by the way the voting turned out, however, many of the older girls were in the same situation last season when we were voted the four seed under another team we beat 4-0 earlier that season, so it’s nothing new for us,” Berkshire coach Ian Patterson said. “Riding a five-game win streak into the postseason, they were amped up and ready to prove something to the district that doesn’t seem to have much respect for us.”

    It didn’t take long for the Badgers to earn respect as Lexi Boyk gave the Badgers a 1-0 lead just one minute and 15 seconds into the game.

    Boyk went on to score two more goals and Clara Agawa, Grace Lillibridge and Kate Zeliznak each found the net once in the first half as the Badgers led 6-0 at the break.

    Patterson played all freshmen in the second half and Jordyn Wichert, Tara Barcikoski, Brooke Ruchalski, Skylar Freiling and Kelly McFadden all scored their first career postseason goals for the Badgers.

    Allie Barcikoski posted a team-high two assists for Berkshire and Zeliznak, Freiling, Ruchalski, Kate Kenny, Julia Landrus and Alyssa Wolfe each assisted on one goal.

    Emma Musick and Maddy Frank each recorded one save for the Badgers, who, due in large part to Conneaut’s vote, travel to No. 2 Garfield for a rematch in a district semifinal on Oct. 21.

    “We had a great game tonight but it’s short-lived as we have a quick turnaround for a rematch against the G-men Monday,” Patterson said. “Obviously, due to the voting, we are now visiting them instead of hosting, so we need to stay focused and not overlook them just because we won 4-0. It’s a playoff game now and anything can happen.”

    The Badgers may enter the game at Garrettsville but they aren’t ready to assume the role of underdog.

    “Our approach doesn’t change much for Monday,” Patterson said. “We still feel we’re the team to beat in that game despite the seeding being what it is. We feel confident in what we’ve done this season with our schedule and the progress we’ve made, so we’ll see the results here this next week.”

    Berkshire improved to 9-6-2 on the year.

    “I’m just really excited for what this team has done this season,” Patterson said. “We might not have the most wins, the most goals scored or the most girls getting awards, but I feel this is the most competitive team we’ve ever had and I hope we can get the results we want this next week of play. This team really deserves to win a district title but it’s not about who deserves it, it’s about actually showing up and doing it.”

    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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