Silver Chips Online

Blazers edge past Hornets

Aggressive play propels girls soccer to 2-1 victory

By Rachita Sood, Online Editor-in-Chief
October 11, 2006
The varsity girls' soccer team defeated Damascus 2-1 in a tough home game Tuesday night, bringing their record to 5-4. The Blazers grabbed an early lead and held it throughout the night as they played with intensity and vigor.

The Blazers opened the game in abrupt and intense fashion, scoring two goals in the first ten minutes of action. Sophomore Annie Worden received a pass inside the center of the goalbox and fired off a low shot that snuck in under Damascus' diving goalie. A few plays later, sophomore Anna Rassman lofted a beautiful corner kick into the box. The Damascus goalie leapt out to deflect the ball but missed. After rolling around in a tangle of players, the ball was fired into the goal by freshman Kelly Pelz-Butler.

Blair's offensive onslaught in the early stages of the game came as a result of their effective ball movement. The Blazers utilized the wings, distributing the ball across the field with pinpoint precision rather than forcing the ball down the middle of the field.

As the first half progressed, the game evolved into back and forth play. The Blazers steadily moved the ball down the field with accurate passes, stringing together several scoring opportunities. But the offense struggled to finish the plays as Damascus continually thwarted Blair's attacks on goal. The Hornets answered with lightning fast counterattacks, relying on speed to get the ball in their offensive zone. But the Blair defense stood tall and protected the goal, leaving the score at 2-0 heading into halftime.

The second half saw a continuation of the same type of back-and-forth play until Damascus broke the standstill with a resounding goal in the 69th minute of the game. A Damascus player received a pass a few feet from the top of the box and dribbled past an overcommitted defender before rocketing the ball into the low right corner of the goal. Goalkeeper Maggie Sullivan dove for the save, but the ball clanged off the right post and sailed into the goal.

With Blair's advantage down to a one-goal margin, the Blazers found themselves fighting for the offensive spark that would better ensure their victory late in the second half. But as play progressed, Damascus began to dominate possession and control the ball, leaving the Blazers to play defense and protect their slender lead. "Everywhere on the field, we had to play defense before we could play offense," said junior defender Lizzie Horne. Blair's defense met the challenge and played aggressively until the end, denying the Hornets any goals and relaying the ball to the Blazer offense for several close shots.

The Blazers kept attacking late in the second half, but could not give themselves an insurance goal. In the 80th minute, defender Becca Vogel carried the ball out of Blair's defensive zone before passing to Worden in the center, who dribbled past several defenders to the goalbox. Worden sent a lead pass to freshman Lauren Kestner, who came running up the right side, but the Hornets' goalie got to the ball first. Two minutes later, senior Emma Liebmann sent a beautiful pass soaring over the Damascus defenders to striker Danielle Peck, but Peck's shot went high and hit off the crossbar into the arms of Damascus's goalkeeper.

The Blazers maintained possession of the ball, reeling off several close shots before allowing Damascus one final opportunity to tie the score. With less than a minute left, a Damascus free kick soared directly into the goalbox, but Sullivan came out and deflected the ball wide, making her last spectacular save of the night.

Coach Robert Gibb was proud of the intensity that Blair showed, citing it as one of the most important aspects to winning. "The main thing I need to see from them is just fighting aggression," said Gibb. "I like that we were fighting for the ball, even though we got a foul or two."

The Blazers were trying out several small changes in the line-up, which according to Gibb accounted for their inability to turn opportunities into goals. And despite the scoreless 70 minutes in the game, Gibb is confident in the Blazers ability to win upcoming games. "We created a lot of chances," he said.

The girls' varsity soccer team plays its next home game on Oct. 16 against Kennedy at 7 p.m.


http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/6769