LEXINGTON — Even at less than full strength, Ontario is still one of the top soccer squads in the district.
Playing without two starters who were sidelined because of COVID-19 contact tracing protocols, the second-seeded Warriors blanked No. 3 Clear Fork 2-0 in the nightcap of a Division II district semifinal doubleheader Wednesday at Lexington High School.
Senior Emma Bise and sophomore forward Kyla Spencer were unavailable Wednesday night. Two other regulars rejoined the team after being cleared Tuesday.
“We knew it was going to be tough. We’re short-handed,” Ontario coach Larry Atkinson said. “We just got two girls back yesterday for practice and we had them tonight.
"They’ve been working out on their own, but 14 days not playing any games — they missed three games — it’s tough.”
The Warriors (14-2-3) scored the only goal they would need when Maggie Hoffman connected off a Macy Mangan assist with 3:18 remaining in the first half. Abby Potter added an insurance goal midway through the second half, her 24th of the season, off another Mangan assist.
“(Hoffman) just gives non-stop effort,” Atkinson said. “She makes great runs.”
Clear Fork (10-7-1) had a hard time getting anything going offensively. The Colts were shut out for the seventh time this season.
“We knew that we had to create some opportunities on goal. We did here and there,” Clear Fork coach Brittany Bechtel said. “We have to build numbers forward because we don’t have that offensive striking momentum. We really struggled doing that.”
The Colts were coming off an emotional 1-0 win over backyard rival Lexington in the sectional finals.
“I don’t know if our legs were a little burnt out from Lexington,” Bechtel said. “It took a lot to get through that Lexington game. Some starters were really struggling.
“We just seemed disconnected today.”
Ontario will play Madison for the district title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lexington. It will be the fourth straight year the Warriors and Rams meet in the district championship match.
“It’s always a great match when we play them,” Atkinson said. “They’re going to bring their ‘A’ game and hopefully we bring our ‘A’ game.”