Vanesa Rodriguez scored in the 26th minute and Toledo held on for a 1-0 win over Onalaska in the 2B District 4 third/fourth-place match Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
Rodriguez found an opening 15 yards out, took a cut to the left and tapped it into the lower left corner past a diving Alex Cleveland-Barrera for the goal.
“It was definitely with the help of my team,” Rodriguez said. “If they wouldn’t have passed me the ball at the right time, then I wouldn’t have been able to get it where it was at.”
It was all the Riverhawks needed as their defense fended off Ony’s powerful offensive attack all match, led by an excellent performance in goal by junior keeper Daphnie Bybee, who finished with 12 saves.
It was a redemption victory for the Riverhawks, who were coming off a disappointing loss to Kalama in the semifinals last week.
“After the game on Wednesday, this was one of those games where the girls wanted to come back,” Toledo coach Noel Vazquez. “Yesterday, we talked about how to fix those little things. They came out with a better mentality and knew we had to come out and perform today, and they did a good job.”
It wasn’t easy keeping Onalaska at bay as the Loggers put up a furious comeback attempt in the final 20 minutes, keeping possession near Toledo’s goal and forcing Bybee to come up big again and again.
Rodriguez said it was the trust the Riverhawks have in each other that helped stymie Ony’s comeback bid.
“Our defense has been working super, super hard to defend counter attacks, so they worked really well together, they communicated and the rotation they did was perfect,” Rodriguez said. “It was the defense who saved us, along with (Bybee), who was amazing and came out every opportunity she could.”
Toledo (13-5) and Onalaska (11-5) now await the WIAA’s state seeding, set to be announced at noon on Sunday.