Blair offense controlled in lopsided match
Girls' varsity soccer (3-5) dominated the Paint Branch Panthers (2-7-1) Tuesday afternoon, taking their first divisional win in a 5-0 rout.
On a cool and fair October day, the Blazers came out of the gate on attack, quickly driving the ball down the field for a long rally. With only five minutes into the game, senior defender Alexis Redford Maung Muang launched a shot from past the penalty area through the leaping arms of the Paint Branch goaltender for her first career varsity goal.
After the Blazer's initial lead, the game settled down. Blair's offense took possession for the vast majority of the first half but initially failed to get the ball in front of the goal, getting trapped near the sidelines. Eventually, they got into a rhythm, taking three solid shots at goal over the course of ten minutes. These efforts came to fruition when captain Kelly Mayo drove past the Paint Branch defense and crossed the ball in front of the goal, where freshman Nina Jeffries easily tapped it in to put the Blazers up 2-0 at halftime.
Instead of the slow and often unsuccessful rallies that made up the first half, the second half was characterized by electric breakaways and exciting scoring opportunities. The mood was set for the rest of the game when Nina Jeffries fired a shot at the goal after only one minute, just barely missing her target. Jeffries and Mayo then took control as they dismantled the weak Panthers defense with smart passing and powerful shots. As an injured Panther fell on the field and the Paint Branch coach called for a stop in play, Jeffries tapped a perfectly placed ball to Mayo, who drove it into the net, raising Blair's lead to three goals. Mayo gave much of the credit for the goal to Jeffries. "Nina gave me a really good ball, and all I had to do was put it in," she said. The next twenty minutes saw numerous chances to widen that lead, but the Blazers failed to get the ball into the back of the net. Coach Robert Gibb thought Blair could have done more to make shots. "We scored a lot of goals, but we could have scored a lot, a lot, more," he said to the team after the game.
Senior Idis Giron tallied in the game's waning minutes, taking a wide open shot with twenty minutes left and easily nesting the ball into the corner of the net. And as rain started to fall in the last ten minutes, Giron widened the lead even further to five goals.
Blair completely shut down the Panthers' offensive advances for the entire game. It was exceedingly rare for the ball to cross into Blair territory, and when it was, the Panthers were smothered by junior Camille Franks and the Blair defense. Paint Branch only mustered one shot on target, which was easily stopped by Blair goalkeeper Madeline Burke.
On the offensive side, Blair dribbled the ball around the Panther defense with impunity, even if their shots weren't consistently on target. Franks saw this win as very promising. "We were just really on it today, really playing better than we ever had," she said. Gibb echoed her sentiment. "It was our first division win and it was a shutout, so there are a lot of positives there," he said.
Maximillian Foley-Keene. Hello! My name is Max and I'm an Editor in Chief for SCO this year. I like writing about what I think, especially current events, American foreign and economic policy. I also like music (jazz and 2000s post-punk are my favorites), art (Wassily Kandinsky is … More »