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Oct. 11, 2012

Blair girls' soccer beats Paint Branch in second half comeback

by Sarika Ramaswamy, Staff Writer

The Blair varsity girls' soccer team (4-4-1) had a slow start in the first half of the game against the Paint Branch Panthers, but increased their energy in the second half to win 4-0. The game ended with just under four minutes left after a Paint Branch player was hit in the head, and carried off on a stretcher.

The Blazers started the game with many unsuccessful shots. The Panthers skillfully intercepted and used off-sides traps to force the Ladyblazers away from the center and towards the sides of the field. Even though Paint Branch stole the ball, the Pantherís forwards were unable to maneuver the ball around tough Blair defenders to take shots at the goal, keeping Blair on the offensive side. Goalie junior Sadie Isakower did not have to touch the ball until 37 minutes into the first half, which ended with a score of 0-0.

Though the team rallied together, determined to bring new energy at the start of the second half, the beginning of the half was plagued with offensive difficulties. Finally, more than 20 minutes into the game, junior Fiona Kavanagh scored the first goal, assisted by junior Delia Trimble. The Blazers immediately gained momentum as junior Jessica Demouy assisted senior Ana Cordon in the second goal just one minute after Kavanagh's. Junior Maggie McClain scored four minutes after Cordon, and senior Melissa Romero scored the last goal eight minutes after McClain. With only five minutes remaining on the clock, the Blazers were poised to continue their offensive bombardment.

One minute later, a Paint Branch player was injured with a concussion after a kick to the head. An ambulance was called. With only four minutes remaining on the clock, the teams agreed to end the game early and declared Blair the winner with a final score of 4-0.

The team attributes its lack of energy in the beginning of the game to the demoralizing 3-0 loss to rival Sherwood on Monday. "It was disappointing when we lost to Sherwood because that was the division championships right there," coach Robert Gibb said. "That deflated us, and everyone started to question themselves and the dynamic of the team."

The loss to Sherwood put stress on the girls. "We began taking this game too seriously, we were not playing for fun like we should have," Kavanagh said.

Going into the game, the Blazers were not expecting much of a fight from the Panthers. The Panthers' tactics, however, including their off-sides trap and frenetic defense, interfered with Blair's ability to make goals. "There a lot of shots we never got to finish and we ended up shooting right at the keeper," Demouy said

Once the Blazers got their first goal, they picked up the pace and jumped into the game. "It was really a relief," Kavanagh said. "As soon as I scored, I felt we really had the game."

Though the game was surprisingly tough for the team, many Blazers found individual success in the game. Kavanagh scored her first goal of the season, McClain scored her first goal of her varsity career, and Romero made a difficult header goal off of a corner kick. Sophomore goalie Amanda Flores also had her first varsity win as a goalie, playing the entire second half.

In their next game, the Blazers hope to play with the same second-half fire they showed on the field against Paint Branch for the entire game against Springbrook.

The varsity girls' soccer team will play its next home game against Springbrook on Oct. 16 at 7:00 p.m.

Editorís Note: Maggie McClain is on Art Staff for Silver Chips Print.

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