WALES — Oak Hill is learning that with depth, defense and excellent goalkeeping, a little bit of offense can go a long way this season.

The Raiders used all three strengths to shut down Hall-Dale for the first 76 minutes of Wednesday’s Mountain Valley Conference girls soccer match, then held off the short-handed Bulldogs’ late charge for a crucial 2-1 victory.

Brittany Marquis and Sydney Drew scored and Anna Dodge made 11 saves for the Raiders (5-2). Dani Sweet scored for the Bulldogs (4-2-1).

“The past couple of seasons we’ve had a tough fight against them, so we’re really pleased to come out and play well on our home field,” Oak Hill coach Nicole Camire said.

Camire went deep into her bench to make sure the Raiders could run with the Bulldogs for the full 80 minutes. That translated into some timely passing and defense.

“We have some pretty good passes and we hustle. It’s pretty much just teamwork,” Marquis said.

“We figured at home we need to keep everybody fresh, so let’s give them some breaks. Everybody played a part today,” Camire said. “”We know that Hall-Dale’s fast,” Camire said. “They pass the ball really well. And that is what’s kept us from beating them in the past — their passing and their speed. The girls knew coming in that we needed to be aggressive and there was no letting up against this team.”

The Raiders didn’t let up after Drew converted on a penalty kick to make it 2-0 with 27:46 to go. They just missed on a couple of chances with an open net and Drew hit the crossbar on another bid with over six minutes to play.

Hall-Dale, playing without starting midfielder Addie Davis (broken toe) and starting back Grace Begin (concussion), dug deep to try to rally after that. Dodge denied Signe Lynch on a direct kick with just under four minutes left. Moments later, Sweet intercepted a goal kick and beat Dodge to the far post.

“You really can’t leave games to last-minute heroics. We had some opportunities before. We just weren’t able to convert,” Hall-Dale coach Guy Cousins said. “Possession was pretty good in the first half. We controlled the ball pretty well. We’ve got a ton of injuries and sicknesses so we’re pretty thin on the bench.”

Hall-Dale missed the mark on a couple of first-half shots, but several others would have found the back of the net if not for the hustle and clearing skills of defenders Julia Ahlberg and Hannah Nadeau. Dodge also made an incredible diving stop to her left to rob Lynch of a goal late in the half.

“Our defense is awesome. They work well. They rotate well and they push the ball up,” Marquis said.

Marquis benefited from a counter for her goal. Jamie Prue and Halee Lair had good touches advancing the ball to Marquis for her first strike with 22:31 left in the first half.

“That was a good start for us because it got our heads up and looking forward to the game and playing hard,” Marquis said.

Hailey Taker made five saves in net for Hall-Dale.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: RAWmaterial33

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