RAVENNA — The firsts for the Alliance High School girls soccer team just keep coming.
Thursday night at the Ravenna High School, the young Aviator team became the first Alliance team to play in and win a district championship.
Alliance junior Avery Horning scored a pair of goals to lead the Aviators to a 2-0 win over the Kenston Bombers to take the Division II district championship game.
Alliance (15-4-2), the overall fifth seed, moves on to the regional at 7 p.m. Tuesday against No. 1-seeded Canfield, at Streetsboro. Canfield was an 8-0 winner over Streetsboro in another district final.
Horning’s first goal came at the 13-minute mark on a header with an assist from sophomore Zellie Barns off a corner kick.
“We have a really good corner kicker this year, (Zellie Barns),” said Horning, who was playing on a slightly sprained ankle she injured in the semifinals Monday at West Branch. “She sends really good balls in, and all of us know how to make our runs to put it in. I was confident and I was able to put in a header for my first one.”
Her second goal, in the 62nd minute, pretty much sealed the win. She was able to take advantage of a Kenston mistake.
“She (the Kenston player) had a drop ball, and I knew to put pressure on the ball (so) she would make a mistake and I was able to take advantage and score.”
It’s been a long time coming for the Aviators.
“At least eight of our starters have been playing together since we were in ‘UA’ (youth soccer) so it is really cool to see now that we are all in high school a girls team gets to the district final. This is super cool for our team,” Avery Horning said.
Alliance head coach Matthew Horning is just amazed at what this team has accomplished.
“I am just so proud of these girls,” Coach Horning said. “Some of these girls I have coached since they were 6 years old, and it has been a long journey. We started at the beginning of summer counting down to 100 days, and today is day 100 and now we get to practice on day 101. They played so well.”
Kenston, making its fourth straight appearance in the district finals, controlled much of the early part of the game.
“They really took it to us at the beginning,” Coach Horning said. “I felt that we were not in control of the game early. But the girls weathered that storm.”
The Aviators learned a lot about themselves playing West Branch in the district semifinal.
“I think our experience playing against West Branch prepared us for that because they are such a good team,” Coach Horning said. “They made us have to keep our composure and stay calm when it wasn’t going well.”
The coach said corner kicks have been a team strength all season.
“Our corner kicks have been dangerous all season, so it didn’t surprise me that we were able to score,” Coach Horning noted.
He was even more pleased with the team defense as it pitched its second straight shutout. Goalkeeper Nyah Fox made four big saves for Alliance.
“Nyah Fox was just amazing at goal,” Coach Horning said. “Today she made a point-blank save that should have tied the match. But she made an unbelievable save. She hasn’t given up a goal since September. Everyone just played so well tonight.”
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Alliance High School girls soccer wins first OHSAA district title