|Lady Wildcats win wild soccer opener|
|Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:28 AM|
By JIM METCALFE
VAN WERT — The Jefferson’s girls soccer team showed how much their skills have improved in a year as they opened the 2013 campaign with a wild 6-5 victory on a brilliant Monday night at Van Wert High School.
“We had a good start to the season; we got the win. Our strikers did well but we got good play from our midfield offensively,” Jefferson coach Josiah Stober said. “We beat a very good goalkeeper. Defensively, we have some girls to replace, so our youngsters back there are learning. Van Wert is a good opener for us because it’s a good measure of where we are as a team and where we need to go. We have a lot of positives from this game but, as usual, some things we need to address. We have two days of work before our next match.”
For first-year Van Wert coach Larry Lamb, it’s also a learning experience.
“We had some great opportunities but we rushed them too much. We had the first-game jitters in those situations and missed chances,” Lamb added. “Defensively, we had too many breakdowns but I take the blame for that. I switched up our defense but it didn’t work. We did get better the second half but we fell behind too much. Fortunately, we won’t have any time to dwell on this.”
The Lady Wildcats took a 1-0 lead at 36:21 off a corner kick sequence. Junior Kylee Haehn launched one from the left side and found junior Adrie Miller on the right post; she kneed the ball past Van Wert senior keeper Rachel Gordon (15 saves versus 23 shots on-goal) at 36:21.
The Lady Cougars tied it at 34:36 when senior Lauren Mathew passed inside form the right sideline to junior Emily Bair for a 15-yarder from the wing that found the left side past Jefferson junior netminder Kayleigh O’Conner (13 saves vs. 19 shots on-goal).
The Red and White took the lead for good at 2-1 with 23:41 showing in the first half. Haehn threaded a lead pass from the left side to junior Logan Hamilton for a run down the middle; she veered toward the right and when the keeper came out to cut off the angle, she nailed a 16-yarder that found the left side of the twine.
The Lady ’Cats made it 3-1 at 18:06 — after a flurry in front of the net — when Hamilton was again the recipient of an assist, this time by junior Bailey Miller, from left to right, where Hamilton found the mark just inside the post from eight yards.
A little less than a minute later (17:08), Hamilton completed her hat trick. Haehn again fed a beautiful lead pass from near midfield — on the left side — to the wide-open Hamilton on the right post and her 12-yarder went opposite side.
The Cougars retaliated at 16:41 off a handball called on the Wildcats 35 yards out. Senior Hannah Hulbert drilled a looping shot from the right side that handcuffed O’Conner and found the twine for a 4-2 scoreboard.
The goalkeepers held their foes off the board the rest of the half.
Both teams had chances but hit the crossbar: Hulbert at 11:40 when her 20-yarder from the left side hit the bar and Jefferson freshman Arianna Knebel did the same on her 12-yarder.
The Lady Cougars got within 4-2 early in the second half — at 38:23 — when Bair went inside to Hulbert on the right side and the senior Cougar went to the left side from 15 yards.
Jefferson made it 5-3 at 36:21 when junior Elisabeth Miller connected with Haehn on the left post and her 13-yarder hit off the right post and into the net.
A Cougar handball in the box at 18:30 gave Haehn a penalty kick and she went low and hard for a 6-3 edge.
The hosts fought back and got within 6-4 at 13:42. Bair threaded a lead pass from the middle to Hulbert for a wide-open look from the left wing and her 14-yarder went to the right side of the cords.
The Cougars made it 6-5 at the 5-minute mark. Hulbert took a free kick from 40 yards out on the left side and O’Conner deflected the laser but it went right to the wide-open Bair and her 10-yarder went left to right to find the net.
O’Conner preserved the victory when she denied Mathew’s try from 18 yards.
Jefferson hosts Ottoville 5 p.m. Thursday. Van Wert is off until they visit Ottawa-Glandorf 7 p.m. Tuesday.