Varsity Girls’ Soccer Draws Westlake in Pre-Playoff Game

Emily Lu, Editor-in-Chief

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  • Haley Groff ’17 fights to pass the defender and dribble up field.

  • McKenna Sigler ’17 throws the ball to the center of the field.

  • Claire Tinker ’20 passes the ball up the field.

  • Claire Tinker ’20, Natasha Paul ’17, Claire Gottardi ’18, and Haley Groff ’17 form a wall to block a free kick.

  • Ally Bayer ’17 fights off defender and looks for a pass.

  • Sarah Frank ’18 passes the ball to avoid the opposing player.

  • Ally Bayer ’17 sprints up field.

  • Ella Concannon ’18 dribbles the ball away from the defender.

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In preparation for the playoffs, the varsity girls’ soccer team battled for a scoreless game against the Westlake Chaps on Tuesday, March 21. After a penalty shoot-out featuring five players from the opposing teams, the result remained a tie with each side successfully scoring three.

Though they took a break from their regular practice regime, the Lady Warriors were still resilient in their play and created several close opportunities to make a difference on the board.

“Highlights would definitely be work ethic tonight, having 10 plus days off and coming back and playing a team like Westlake,” head coach Malcolm Framjee said.  

Starting with the ball, the Lady Warriors were quick to put pressure on the Chap backline. Forward Ally Bayer ‘17 saw action early in the third minute by catching a ball loose in midfield and bringing it through a defensive gap, however the cross was sent late and hit side netting. Co-captain Mckenna Sigler ‘17 also played a critical role in creating opportunities by sending through balls for various forwards to capitalize on. The Lady Warriors proved to be just as strong on the other side of the pitch, as goalkeeper (GK) Maddi Kriz ‘19 came up with a strong save in the 12th minute, securing a free kick blasted by the Chaps.

The team created another chance in the 20th minute after earning a corner kick. Ella Concannon ‘18 sent a ball from the right side of the field, and a teammate was able to get a head on it, however the ball lacked pace and the Chap goalkeeper scooped it up. The game proceeded with shots from both side, however it wasn’t until moments before the end of the first half did the Lady Warriors have another prime opportunity. Bayer passed the ball to Autumn Koch ‘19, who sent in a shot that was blocked by the goalkeeper. Koch ran for the rebound, but the GK was able to secure the ball.

Substitutes in the second half allowed for a change of pace in the game, especially by forward Nailah Roberts ‘17.

“I made a lot of runs and I helped speed up the pace of the game,” Roberts said.

In the 41st minute, Bayer moved up the right flank to cross it to Claire Gottardi ‘18, however the tap-in proved to be an easy save. Kriz was called again for a diving save in the 46th minute when a Chap sent a firm shot to her left, and shielded from another free kick soon after. Roberts displayed her speed as she won the ball in centerfield and whizzed past all of the defenders to send a shot from a tight angle, forcing the Chap goalkeeper to fall to her knees for a save. As time began to ran out, Concannon tested her luck for multiple goals from 30-yards out, skimming the crossbar but ultimately never adding to the board. The last attempt was made by Roberts, who pressed up for another run when time was finally called.

Pressure then fell to the five players and goalkeeper for the decisive penalty shootout. Though this was Kriz’s first time being put on the line, she was able to step up with two big saves.

“I just tried to remember what Framjee told me: to be big,” Kriz said. “I was pretty nervous, but towards the end as I finished them off it became a little easier for me.

Westlake was able to fire the first shot in, while Gottardi’s strayed just left of the goal. However Kriz guessed correctly for the Chap’s next shot and dove to her left, keeping the ball out of the back of the net. Concannon went next and blasted a while the Chap GK jumped the other way. With the shoot-out at 1-1, Kriz denied the next Chap attempt, and Lilah Bevins’ ‘17 proceeding kick soared above the goal. The remaining chances were all converted, including Caroline Gillispie’s ‘18 upper 90 fire and a lucky shot that hit the crossbar and bounced into the goal by Haley Groff ‘17. The game finished scoreless with a shootout score of 3-3.

The Lady Warriors will begin their official playoff run on Friday, March 24 against Bowie. This game set a valuable precedent as the team returned from their break.

“It was good for the girls to get out there and compete tonight before we get ready for Bowie,” Coach Framjee said. “We’ve been pretty lucky the past three years [in playoffs], we’ve gone at least three rounds, so hoping that momentum and a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck will carry us into that this year at least.”