Perrysburg’s Addie Graham (18) battles Southview’s Ryah Haider, right, for the ball during Wednesday's. Graham scored four goals in a 6-1 Northern Lakes League win THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Perrysburg striker Addie Graham displayed a finisher’s touch time and time again on Wednesday night as the junior finished with four goals against Southview.
Playing with swagger and confidence, the Yellow Jackets continued to roll in the Northern Lakes League as No. 7 ranked Perrysburg blasted Southview 6-1. Graham scored two goals in the first half and two more in the second half, including one just 13 seconds into the final half on the Cougars’ home field.
Graham, who wore bright pink shoes, has scored a team-high 16 goals.
“It was really great,” Graham said. “Everybody worked together and got the ball to me. I credit my teammates. They found me in the right place.”
IN PICTURES: Perrysburg 6, Southview 1
VIDEO: Northern Lakes League soccer
Graham has two hat tricks in her career, but had never scored four goals in one game.
“They’re finding the perfect balls in to me, and they know how I play. I just placed it in the back of the net,” Graham said.
Perrysburg (8-1-1 overall, 4-0-0 NLL) has outscored its opposition 41-12, including 20-2 in league play. Southview, which had moments of sustained pressure, fell to 3-5-0 overall and 2-1-0 in the NLL.
The Yellow Jackets are gunning for their seventh straight NLL title.
“We’re playing with a lot of chemistry,” Perrysburg coach Jorge Diaz said. “They communicate well and they play for one another.
“One of the things that we’ve learned over the course of the season is that we can put the ball in the net. And when we score early, we are successful.”
The Yellow Jackets took advantage of an unforced Southview turnover to score the game’s first goal. Graham cashed in on the miscue and scored 7:36 into the game for a 1-0 lead.
“From there, we had all the energy,” Graham said.
A magnificent touch pass by Kristina DeMarco to Graham led to Perrysburg’s second goal with 11:52 left in the first half. DeMarco tapped the ball upfield through the air to Graham, who took the feed and scored to make it 2-0.
Perrysburg then pushed the ball immediately downfield on the opening second-half kickoff, and Graham had a tap-in for her third goal of the game. The Yellow Jackets took the 3-0 lead only 13 seconds into the final half.
Graham then crushed a shot up over the head of Southview freshman goalie Melanie Gromes’ head and just under the cross bar for a 4-0 lead with 33:37 to go in the second half.
Minutes later, Graham streaked in all alone on the Southview goal but her shot skidded just wide right of the net.
Diaz called Graham a “poacher.”
“She's always in the right place at the right time,” Diaz said. “She hides a little bit, and knows when to make those runs.”
Diaz said DeMarco and Graham feed off each other.
“They’ve played so long with each other,” Diaz said. “They’re setting each other up nicely.”
Graham said she and DeMarco work well off the ball together.
“We know where to be. She uses her speed and gets the ball to me,” Graham said.
Perrysburg sophomore Lydia Knowlton had her team’s fifth goal of the game with 19:13 left in regulation, and sophomore Sarah Pantenburg then scored with 5:31 left.
Southview ruined the shutout bid by Perrysburg goalkeeper Lily Yoder with just less than three minutes left. Junior forward Abigail Mann scored for the Cougars with 2:54 left in regulation.
Gromes made a diving save three minutes into the game to stop DeMarco’s point-blank shot. Five minutes later, Gromes again stopped DeMarco to keep it scoreless early.
The Cougars came out a bit tentative and nervous, not moving the ball forward. Southview’s Kenzie Ortman set up her own chance late in the first half, but she struck the ball just high. Seconds later, Mann hit the crossbar as Southview mounted a late attack.
The Cougars were playing without one of their top players, Ellie Pool, who is sidelined with an injury.
Perrysburg plays at Anthony Wayne (10-1-0, 4-0-0) next Wednesday before closing out league play against Bowling Green and Napoleon.
“We knew that Southview and Anthony Wayne would be our biggest tests if we want to go undefeated in the NLL,” Diaz said.
Perrysburg’s Meghan Lund, center, tries to move the ball against Southview’s Ma'kayla Hill, left. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Southview’s Sophia Brown, left, and Perrysburg’s Abigail Seiple battle for the ball on Wednesday. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH