United wraps up another ITCL title

HANOVERTON – A season of triumphs and setbacks for the United girls soccer team has culminated in another Inter-Tri County League reign as champion.

On Monday, the Eagles locked up the team’s second straight ITCL title by beating Springfield 5-0.

United coach Raymond O’Flaherty was proud of the effort given this season.

“We came back and played strong,” O’Flaherty said. “We had gone through a lot with injuries and a loss during the season.”

United, ranked sixth in the Division III?state poll, improves to 12-2-1 overall.

Seniors Mackenzie Gatchel and Shelby Dimovski made the most of their final regular-season home match with Dimovski scoring two goals and Gatchel providing a goal and four assists.

Gatchel, who was involved in all five goals against Springfield including her 19th goal, was excited for the victory.

“I’m just so proud of my team,” Gatchel said. “We have played well, we were able to execute and were able to pick ourselves up.”

Dimovski picked up her 14th and 15th goals and was equally relieved to have won.

“We were working hard on the field,” Dimovski said. “We are just very proud.”

Sophomore Emily Ellyson displayed her skill to the fullest as well with two goals, and was also happy for her team’s win.

“We started a little rough, but we did really well,” Ellyson said. “We had great work from our captains. Mackenzie and Shelby did really well.”

Gatchel and Dimovski’s pride in her team also comes from unity within the team.

“We are a very close team,” Gatchel said. “We have been able to communicate very well.”

“We are definitely proud and close,” Dimovski said. “We never fight, we are very close. Our communications have helped us a lot.”

United bounced back from an injury early in the season with sophomore Lauren Beech sitting out, and O’Flaherty noted the strength of the team despite Beech’s injury.

“We had lost Lauren Beech from her injury, who luckily returned,” O’Flaherty said. “I think now our momentum’s back now, I see now our momentum as good.”

Gastel and Dimovski learned to push the team forward through the season despite the setback.

“We had that rough patch during the season,” Gatchel said. “We had to be able to execute and overcome.”

“Just being able to overcome this rough patch helped us,” Dimovski said. “This was kind of like a slap in the face, showing everyone that we can come back.”

United had lost its first regular season match in two years earlier this season against Crestview.

Now with another ITCL championship on the shelf, and the team’s momentum at an all-time high, the Eagles get ready for the tournament.

“We have had 71 goals this season, we’re first in districts,” O’Flaherty said. “All we need to work on is ball possession for the playoffs.”

“If we can do our best, we can move to the top,” Dimovski said. “Now with (tournaments) coming up, we definitely need to pick it up.”

In addition to the five goals, sophomore Michaela Sturgeon recorded her fifth shutout of the season at goal.

For Springfield, sophomore goaltender Devon Asher had 10 saves.

United closes out its regular season at Columbiana on Wednesday.