Varsity Girls’ Soccer Edges Out Hawks 3-2

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The varsity girls’ soccer team took on the Hendrickson Hawks at the Warrior Bowl on Friday, Feb. 15. Coming off of a win against Cedar Ridge, the team was aching to prevail against the Hawks.

The game commenced with a Lady Warrior kick off as Hailey Martinez ‘21 passed the ball back to Leah Zahm ‘20. Towards the start, both teams appeared to be evenly matched in the midfield until a cross by Deepti Choudhury ‘21 was almost headed in by Lauren Kolodzinski ‘21. Just minutes into the game, the Lady Warriors placed the first goal on the scoreboard, scored by Sarah Kolodzinski ‘22 after a corner kick.

“[Going into the game,] we were prepared,” Claire Tinker ‘19 said. “We’ve seen them before. We were definitely hyped up, especially after our win on Tuesday. We had a mission. There were a couple nervous things, but we watched this video and it was like ‘nerves are just excitement,’ so we were excited.”

Up 1-0, the Lady Warriors almost scored a second time with a through ball to Madison Larrea ‘19 and a shot by L. Kolodzinski, but the Hawks denied the opportunity. They countered with an offensive run, but Tinker saved a shot, kicking it out of bounds for a corner, which was then cleared by Zahm. The Lady Warriors went back onto attack as Larrea was just edged off of a through pass from Choudhury by a Hendrickson player before the Hawks won the ball back, forcing goalkeeper Madison Broadbent ‘21 to make a save on the only promising Hendrickson attack thus far.

“Everyone was excited for this game because it is a big deal,” Larrea said. “We needed to win this game to do well. We knew [the Hendrickson team] from the first game since we played them already, so we knew how they were going to act and what their formation was, so I think we seemed pretty ready.”

The goal-scoring momentum of both teams slowed as a free kick by Zahm was blocked and Broadbent made another save. Colleen Wyrick ‘21 played a long ball up the middle of the field, but a shot by Choudhury went wide. Broadbent made two more saves, punching the second one into the air before a Hendrickson player took a wide shot. A free kick for the Hawks resulted in a goal and left Broadbent injured.

After Issabella Garcia ‘21 took over for Broadbent, Anisha Chintala ‘21 deflected the ball towards the goal but was unsuccessful in scoring. On defense, Tinker made sure to follow every ball out the goal line. When attacking, L. Kolodzinski was quick to apply pressure to Hendrickson’s defensive line.

“[The season is] going well,” Larrea said. “Obviously we had some games that we feel like we should have won or should have played better at, but that’s how we grow, from those experiences, and that’s the reason why I think we worked so hard tonight, because we have that fire in us to work harder and play to the best of our ability.”

After several free kicks for the Lady Warriors failed to place them back in the win, Garcia made her first save of the night, catching a shot that went straight to her chest. Tinker was a steadfast force in the back field, leaving no Hendrickson breakaway without pressure. Wyrick and Zahm flanked Tinker, the three stopping most of the runs that entered the backfield.

Back on attack, the Hendrickson keeper barely saved a ball crossed by Autumn Koch ‘19 that was deflected towards goal. Larrea fought hard to get around a defender and earned a corner kick, taken by Wyrick. The kick was deflected, skimming off of a Hendrickson player’s head. Wyrick recovered quickly and halted a breakaway by kicking away the resulting cross.

“We can always, always work on communication,” Tinker said. “It was good this game, but it can always be better. We’re closer now, and I think we found some confidence. We have a young team, so we find the fight and we find the direction to fight. We were feisty in the beginning but we didn’t know which way to be feisty in, so I think that’s something that’s definitely evolved.”

Nearing the end of the first half, the Lady Warriors upped the score 2-1 when a corner kick taken by Wyrick finally found the back of the net after several shot attempts, Choudhury being the one to volley it in. The Hendrickson keeper was later able to get her hands on a shot outside the penalty box taken by Chintala. A foul by the Lady Warriors riled up the Hendrickson supporters, but the free kick was kicked away, and the half ended with a Hendrickson shot wide of the upper left corner of the goal.

The Hawks began the second half with a long ball up the middle which was immediately headed away. A strong free kick down the middle of the field led to passes between Chintala and Aislinn Concannon ‘22, but Chintala’s shot was caught by the keeper. A strong cross by Chintala was also headed away by a Hendrickson defender.

“[Our goal is] just to continue to get better and work on our weaknesses,” Larrea said. “I think we’ve been playing pretty well this season, we just try to continue doing better.”

The strong defense from Zahm, Wyrick, and Tinker continued into the second half, and a foul on Choudhury led to a free kick by Zahm that went just wide of the goal. Midway through the second half, the defenses of both teams were holding fast. A tackle by Wyrick saved what would have been a promising Hendrickson breakaway, and Wyrick and Choudhury worked together to steal the ball from a second offensive player. Larrea was able to capture the ball in an attacking corner of the field, but her shot went just shy of the goalpost. H. Martinez also took a promising shot on goal which the keeper was able to get her hands on and save. A Lady Warrior foul in the penalty box resulted in a penalty kick and goal for the Hawks, tying the score 2-2. Following that play, a Hendrickson breakaway got tied up by Zahm at endline, and the shot was headed away by Zahm.

With 14 minutes left in the game, both teams and fans were aching for a tie-breaking goal. The crowd’s prayers were answered when Larrea won the Lady Warriors a corner kick. Wyrick lofted the ball into the back of the goal box, and a header from Concannon boosted the Lady Warriors back into the lead.

“We were playing more direct in the second half because that was being successful,” Wyrick said. “That’s also how we ended up getting our third goal; hustling down the sidelines and waiting in the corner.”

To counter, offensive runs down the line by Choudhury ended when she was edged out of bounds. Determined not to let up the lead, Garcia saved a long shot down the middle of the field, Tinker headed away a shot, and H. Martinez, Chintala, and Concannon’s solid presence in the midfield prevented any more goals from the Hawks. The game concluded with the ball in the Lady Warrior’s half of the field, but the defense didn’t let any shots through in the last seconds of the match, cementing a 3-2 victory.

“I’m just proud,” Chintala said. “We fought hard the whole game and we never gave up.”

After a long battle to keep the lead, the Lady Warriors walked away from the match with a win. The team will face of against Vista Ridge on Tuesday, Feb. 19 on the Ranger’s home turf.