Fairfield scored on four of its seven shots while holding the Thunderhawks (5-8-1, 4-3) to one shot.
“I think they were a little hungry after their last result,” O’Leary said of a 2-2 tie with Lakota West on Oct. 28. “We feel like any team has a shot to win the conference, and we know we are going to get the best shot from every team.”
Fairfield’s Shelby O’Leary (right) looks to push the ball up the pitch as Lakota East’s Lexi Doherty moves in to apply pressure Tuesday night at East. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS
While the Indian offense was clicking in the first half, the Thunderhawks were having a hard time delivering kicks at the goal.
“We have had a problem with finishing,” East coach Tom McEwen said. “We can possess the ball and move the ball, but our finishing has not been there.”
The Indians got on the board with 34:00 showing on the clock in the first half when Morgan White collected a rebound and beat the keeper. The lead increased to 2-0 when Ryann Meddings bent a corner kick just inside the near post with 26:13 left in the half.
“We saw they were playing a 3-5-2 (formation), and we were going to stay with what we do and try to impose our will and make them change,” O’Leary said. “We thought we’d be able to catch them in some counters until they changed.”
Fairfield caught East in a counterattack with 15:38 remaining on a breakout goal by Kenzie Tamm for a 3-0 lead before Meddings scored her second goal of the game off a direct kick with 10:42 showing for a 4-0 halftime advantage.
“Their counter changed everything,” McEwen said. “They came out and sent a message. Our girls learned that when you step on the field, you have to be prepared to play.”
Lakota East’s Alexia Huon (right) and Fairfield’s Lauren Piatt battle for the ball Tuesday night in Liberty Township. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS
After the Thunderhawks opened the second half with the run of play, Meddings added an assist to her tally when she fed Alexis Goins with a perfect pass and Goins converted with 21:15 remaining.
On the night, the Indians outshot East 10-4.
“We are very blessed to have the talent we have,” O’Leary said. “If teams try to shut one kid down, another one steps up. They make my job easier.”
White and Goins are 1-2 in the GMC in scoring as five Indians are ranked among the top 15 scorers.
“You like to have a superstar, but you also would like to have their balance,” McEwen said. “You can see their attitude as a team. They believe in each other, and that is next level and tells you a lot about why they win as much as they do.”
East will travel to Oak Hills on Thursday. The Indians host Seton next Tuesday.