Bulldogs advance with a big tournament win over the Quakers


The Bulldogs senior players picked up the intensity to power their come from behind victory

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – Led by their senior players, the ninth-seeded Poland Bulldogs overcame an early 1-0 deficit to knock off the fifth-seeded Salem Quakers in Division II girls soccer tournament play Thursday night.  The Bulldogs will now advance to play Mogadore Field next Tuesday in Mogadore.

The Bulldogs improve to 14-2-1 on the season, while the Quakers close their year with a 16-3 mark.

With the game tied 1-1 at intermission, the Bulldog senior players picked up the intensity and powered the team to a two-goal second half.  They also picked up the defensive intensity, bottling up the Quakers at midfield.

“I told the seniors that they have forty minutes to keep playing or end your season,” Bulldogs coach Neil Huda said.  “I said you need to pick up the intensity and it will get you to where you need to go.”

“We knew it could possibly be our last game,” Bulldogs senior Bella Milano said.  “We didn’t want it to end yet.  We didn’t want it to be our last game tonight.”

“We knew it would be our last game if we didn’t keep up the pressure, so all of the girls really wanted to show that we wanted to keep going,” senior Syda Masucci added.

The Quakers began the contest on fire as senior Clara Double gave them an early 1-0 lead.  Double’s goal came just over six minutes into the contest.

“We started off hot in the first fifteen minutes and we felt real comfortable,” Quakers’ coach Kent Paulini remarked.  “We were controlling things and then Poland just gradually pushed us back, and back, and back.”

Bulldogs senior Bella Milano scored her first of two goals on the night at the 21:54 mark to knot the game at 1-1.  Milano admitted that she was a bit surprised by the goal.

“The one that tied it was with my left foot,” Milano said with a chuckle.  “I saw it go right for the corner and the keeper looked like she was about to get it, but it went through her hands.”

“Nice shot, very nice.  She has a nice leg and she hits the ball well.  She means a lot to our team,” Huda added.

After both squads had battled back and forth in the first half, the Bulldogs took control of the contest right from the opening kick to start the second.

Milano would add her second goal of the night at the 34:53 mark of the second half to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 advantage and it eventually proved to be the winning goal.

Syda Masucci would stick a dagger in the Quakers at the 17:08 mark of the half when she found the back of the net to give the Bulldogs a two-goal advantage at 3-1.

“I think we got so focused on chasing that goal, that we lost sight of the game plan.  We focused on what play was as direct as possible.  The way Poland is organized defensively, what our girls were trying to do just won’t work,” Paulini admitted.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on WKBN.com