MARIETTA — Walton scored early and made it stand up as the Raiders defeated Collins Hill 1-0 in the first round of the Class AAAAAA tournament on Wednesday.
“We were battling uphill right from the start,” said Eagles head coach Jeff Tinklepaugh. “You rather have it the other way because it takes the pressure off you.”
Walton (15-3-1), the No. 1 seed from Region 5, struck with 31:51 left in the opening half. After an Eagles clearing attempt was intercepted, the Raiders served the ball up in the air toward the goal box. Collins Hill goalie Ariana Bryant came out, but Leigh Purinton got behind her as the high bounce came to her and she headed it in for a 1-0 Walton lead.
Collins Hill (11-6-1) took a while to get started offensively. The Raiders were successful playing the ball to the center of the field and then streaking their wings down the sidelines to make touches back to the front of the net. Walton used its speed advantage to press the attack.
Midway through the half, Paige Hoover was able to get the first shot on goal for the Eagles. For the remainder of the half, Collins Hill had the possession advantage but could not break through with a goal.
In the second half, Collins Hill continued to attack and have success generating shots. Hoover had the Eagles best chance with about 15 minutes left when she spun in the center of the field from 15 yards and fired a shot. However, it was right at the center of the net and goalie Peyton Ryan made the save.
With Collins Hill pressing on offense, Walton had four open attempts at the Eagles goal from within 12 yards. Each time Bryant made a leaping or diving save to keep the deficit at a single goal.
“She (Bryant) played lights out. She saved us many times,” Tinklepaugh said of his sophomore goalie.
Collins Hill could not generate the tying goal as Walton advanced to next week’s second round.
“We lose five seniors from this bunch,” Tinklepaugh said. “We have players in the pipeline but whoever steps in for Hoover (a senior) has some very big shoes to fill.”