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Maybe it just seems like Ramstein and Patch dominate just about every sport during the course of the Division I season.

Whether that’s true or not, the Royals and Panthers will meet again Thursday with the girls title in the DODDS European Championships on the line. The schools with the largest populations in Europe will resume a rivalry that includes Ramstein’s 2-1 victory over Patch earlier this season and the Royals’ 1-0 triumph in the finals a year ago.

Both advanced with semifinal victories Wednesday.

Ramstein 2, Wiesbaden 1: The Royals played with their typical ruthless efficiency. As a result, they’re right back where they always expect to be.

Ramstein, the defending Division I champion and undefeated tournament top seed, dispatched aspiring rival Wiesbaden with its signature lockdown defense and just enough goals to finish the job.

Ramstein defensive midfielder Haillee Macias said her team’s focus on keeping its opponents off the scoreboard frees up the Royal offense to take pressure-free shots on goal.

“We definitely try to keep a strong defense and just try and maintain,” the freshman said. “So all we have to do is try for the back of the net.”

That formula worked on Tuesday, as the Royals pitched consecutive shutouts to clinch a berth in the semifinals.

And it worked against Wiesbaden. Senior Meghan Smith scored a goal for the Warriors in the game’s closing minutes, but it came far too late to alter the inevitable outcome.

“They’re very physical, so they’re a tough team to play,” Wiesbaden coach Steve Stanley said of the Royals.

Makenzie Ehrhardt and Breana Donnelly knocked in a goal apiece for the Royals, who will face Patch on Thursday in a rematch of the 2012 Division I final. Ramstein won that game 1-0.

Patch 2, Kaiserslautern 0: Both Patch and Kaiserslautern came out hard in the first half of their Division I girls semifinal Wednesday – too hard, perhaps, to maintain control of the ball.

Neither side was happy about it, but few could have been surprised to see the score stuck at 0-0 at the end of the first 40 minutes.

While Kaiserslautern came to the second half with more of the same, Patch looked like an entirely different team when play resumed.

Instead of punting the ball down the field and chasing it, every pass Patch made seemed considered and deliberate. The Panthers slowed down and controlled the ball, creating opportunities their earlier, frenetic play hadn’t allowed.

After a meticulous downfield charge, a Caroline Rivera cross glanced off a Kaiserslautern defender to land at the feet of Patch’s Sarah Nickle, who tapped it in for a 1-0 lead.

“We just needed to stay calm and stay patient until we got a goal,” Nickle said.

The recipe worked once, and they stuck to it.

Soon after, Claire Chiarotti subbed in, and wasn’t on the field but a few moments when the ball came her way and she thumped it home for Patch’s second goal of the semi. Kaiserslautern, which never did same able to organize its offense to slice through Patch’s diligent defense, was unable to put any points on the board.

“We had a lot of emotions going on” in the first half Chiarotti said. “But we got it together.”

broome.gregory@stripes.com; millham.matt@stripes.com


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