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Girls DI semifinals

Stuttgart, Wiesbaden need third try to settle it

Wiesbaden's Erin Goodman, right, gets ready to pass the ball past Naples' Adah Barenburg during the DODEA-Europe Division I semifinals in Reichenbach, Germany, on Friday, May 19, 2017. Wiesbaden won the match 3-1. MICHAEL B. KELLER/STARS AND STRIPES

By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 19, 2017

REICHENBACH, Germany – The third time will be the charm for the Stuttgart Panthers or the Wiesbaden Warriors.

The two teams have met twice this season, with Wiesbaden handing Stuttgart its only loss May 12. The Warriors and Panthers then battled to a scoreless tie in pool play Thursday.

Saturday, after Stuttgart topped Ramstein 4-0 and Wiesbaden downed Naples 3-1, they meet again – this time for the DODEA-Europe Division I championship. Game time is set for 4:45 p.m. at Kaiserslautern High School.

Stuttgart 4, Ramstein 0: Two-time defending champion Stuttgart ran rampant over Ramstein’s defense with a three-goal second half explosion.

Panther midfielder Lexington McLellan scored a pair of goals, with winger Janey Greenberg and striker Alexa Smith contributing a goal apiece. Smith was outstanding as the lone striker in the team’s 4-3-3 formation, serving as a focal point for long passes and finding wingers and supporting players such as McLellan with through balls behind the fullbacks. Stuttgart played with a maturity befitting a team with 12 upperclassmen, and as a result will have a chance to defend its title.

“In the first half we were a little anxious because Ramstein is always a good team and bring out their best, second half we just had to crack the code and ended up scoring a few more,” McLellan said.

She said that with the Royals double-teaming Smith up front it was important to make strong supporting runs on the flanks.

Ramstein captain Monica Robillard said the young Royals improved consistently over the season.

“Every game we got better, our chemistry got better,” she said. “Our passing game became phenomenal.”

Wiesbaden 3, Naples 1: Wiesbaden stormed back from an early 1-0 deficit to score the game’s final three goals, including two in the second half.

AnnaGrace Hale of Naples was the first to react after her teammate Micayla Feltner’s shot was blocked by Wiesbaden goalie Karli Wallace, putting the Italian school in front.

The lead didn’t last the half, however, when Wiesbaden midfielder Ana Golden poked home from close range.

The goal seemed to inspire the Warriors, who came out in the second half with more energy and began to dominate the game, smothering the dangerous Feltner’s attempts to run in behind the defense. Lily Hogenson scored the go-ahead goal before senior captain Gabi Diaz rounded off an impressive run and cross from Peggy Mathis with a calm first-time finish on the half volley to make the game safe for the Warriors.

“We just try to build each other up and give each other positive feedback,” Diaz said of her team’s growth over the year. “We work really well together and we’re going to do it this year.”

Coach Nicole Angel said that attitude will serve her team well in a tough matchup against the Panthers on Saturday.

“We’re 18 strong,” she said. “We’re going to play our game and with our hearts, together.”

Stoutamire.dan@stripes.com

Twitter: @DKS_Stripes

Stuttgart's Adan Maher, right, jumps for a header over Ramstein's Anna Abell during the DODEA-Europe Division I semifinals in Reichenbach, Germany, on Friday, May 19, 2017. Stuttgart won the match 4-0. MICHAEL B. KELLER/STARS AND STRIPES

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