North coach Samantha Richter has spent the season instilling a sense of belief in her players and after a 1-1 draw with visiting Madison on Saturday, the Rangers took another giant step forward.
The Rangers have had little success against the Blue Streaks, and that’s being generous.
Madison has dominated the series—whether in the Western Reserve Conference or in the Premier Athletic Conference—and won the last five meetings by a combined score of 28-1. The Rangers’ last result against the Blue Streaks is believed to be a draw back in the 2008 season.
“With Madison being in the PAC and then WRC, we have so much history with one another,” Richter said. “Historically, Madison has come out on top in our contests, and I believe this dates as far back as into the early 2000s. Getting to play to a tie is just further confirmation that the hours of work our girls are putting in is translating to results on the field. While we are excited, we ultimately have been playing in the mindset that we want to change the way people think about North girls’ soccer, and this was just another step in the right direction against a very skilled, quality opponent.”
Lily VanKirk gave Madison an early 1-0 lead when she found the back of the net seven minutes into the contest.
Michaela Herbert evened things up midway through the first when she scored off of a free kick.
“We initially were hoping to pop it in with a header, but she didn’t need the assist,” Richter said. “I’m so proud of her development and when we needed her to find the net, she came up big.”
North then focused on slowing down Madison standout Reese Meister.
“The sole purpose of doing this was to limit her attack,” Richter said. “Reese is so fast and so technically good, that if you leave her open, she will most certainly find your defensive weakness. We have to credit Savannah Corraro with playing what we call ‘lockdown defense’ for 80 minutes, which ultimately slowed the attack down.”
North improved to 4-4-2 while Madison closed out the game 5-5-1.
The Rangers travel to Chardon on Tuesday. Madison visits Lakeside on Tuesday.