Tough Week for Girls’ Soccer
On Wednesday in the home opener the game seldom moved out of midfield as both sides struggled to maintain possession. South Fork had a slight edge in ownership of the ball, but an overall lackluster first half found the game in a scoreless tie at the intermission.
After half-time South Fork looked a little more eager to score, and a pass from senior midfielder Noelia Alatorre was collected by sophomore striker Kylie Messenger about 30 yards out on the right. Messenger beat her defender and buried a 25 yard shot into the back of the net past a diving keeper for her team-leading 4th goal of the season.
The Lady Cubs held the lead for over 20 minutes, but played back on their heels, looking tired and hesitant. Mack persisted with careful possession play, taking good care of the ball and launching runs down the flanks, often beating the Cub defense and putting pressure on senior sweeper Raya Mahony, who chased the ball tirelessly throughout the game. South Fork was lucky that several of Mack’s shots went over the bar or outside the post as the Panthers began to gain momentum.
Finally, a defensive breakdown allowed a Panther striker to break through the back line and South Fork senior goalie Alex Tapia could do nothing to prevent her shot finding the back of the net.
Now with even more momentum, and just 5 minutes to go in the game, Mack continued to push the ball up the field. Another defensive misplay gave the Lady Panthers a corner kick and South Fork could not clear the ball out of the goalmouth. An awkward rebound landed at the feet of a Mack player who poked it in from five yards out for the winning goal.
Tapia made 4 outstanding saves to keep her team close.On Saturday the Cubs had just 11 players able to play, but played with heart against the Big 5 Eureka Loggers. The Cubs stacked the defense and managed to repel the Eureka attack for 20 minutes before a well-struck shot beat Tapia from about 12 yards out. Ten minutes later a Eureka winger crossed the ball from the left to an unmarked player who made the easy tap-in just in front of the back post, making the score 2-0 at halftime.
In the second half the Cubs played more offensively and both strikers, Messenger and junior Alyssa Rogers, created several scoring chances. Senior midfielder Victoria Van Meter provided consistent service to the front line and when it appeared Messenger would finally break through for a score she was upended by an aggressive challenge from a Eureka defender and fell, all her weight landing on her right elbow. She was unable to return to the field after stepping off for treatment.
The Cubs finished the match with just ten players, but finished strong, continuing to press for an attack. However Eureka managed to score one last time on a strike from 15 yards out when the Cubs got a little too stretched out in the back, for a final score of 3-0.
Now 2-3 on the season, but still in contention for a small school play-off berth, the Lady Cubs will travel to St. Bernard’s on Wednesday for a 3:30 kick-off and then will travel to Fortuna on Saturday for an 11:00 a.m. kick off.