Megan Olson, Booster Club Contributor
March 21, 2012
Filed under Sports
The Girls Varsity Soccer team was minutes away from a milestone defeat of Paideia last Thursday evening. The thrilling see-saw contest kept the fans entertained, as they witnessed Decatur’s best performance of the season. And despite heroics from the Bulldog freshmen, the game ended in a 3-3 draw which provided neither team the satisfaction they sought.
Coach Gathany’s squad eagerly anticipated this match as a chance to prove their mettle and to gain a realistic sense of their chances to make a dent in their region. Last year, the Pythons dismissed the Dogs 2-0. This year: different story. The first half ended tied at 2, with two lead changes. Paideia grabbed the momentum by scoring first, inside the five minute mark. The Bulldogs responded by converting on their first shot of the night, a rocket from Katie Neil from the left of the box. Things tightened up for most of the remainder of the period, with time of possession evenly maintained. At the thirty minute mark, Katie added another goal, this one from just inside the 18 yard box, as she dropped back a step from the defense to make some space, and then blasted in her score. How nice it would have been to take a lead to the locker room, but it was not meant to be. With one minute left, Paideia took a free kick from a few yards outside the box. Nicole Mayer came up with the kick save, which quickly deflected to the opposite side of the 18 yard box, and right to an unmarked Paideia defender. She capitalized on that chance, and shot to the open space while the Decatur defense was still shifted away.
Both teams dug in for the second half, but it was Decatur who drew first blood. With 8 minutes to go, freshman Sydney Johnson took a 15 yard shot that arced over the goalie’s head and into the net. Coach Gathany exhorted his to girls to “dig deep” for the final minutes. They needed the encouragement: despite Sydney’s score, the momentum had gradually but noticeably swung to Paideia for the second half. They maintained more offensive possession, had the more serious looks at goal, made the more threatening runs, and took more shots for the period. The defense held on until the 76 minute mark (of an 80 minute contest). Paideia’s fast and (relatively) large left winger drove the ball deep to the corner, where she managed to cross to the box and found an open teammate, whose shot nicked the near post and clamored into the goal to tie the game at 3-3. Time expired without any real further chances by either team, but the Pythons certainly had to feel that they had stolen this result from the jaws of defeat. Credit goes to their team, as they never gave up in the closing minutes of either period.
Earlier in the week, the Lady Soccer Dogs destroyed the Clarkston Angoras and garnered their third “mercy” victory of the season, by a 10-0 margin. Despite a flurry of shots, it took Decatur half an hour to start converting with any regularity. Eventually, they scored seven goals in the period, and the girls needed just over ten minutes in the second half to gain the remaining three to terminate the game. Junior Hannah Williams came up with a hat trick, as did Annie Mac Strickland. Sally Vaughan scored the second goal of the game for Decatur. Katie Neil grabbed her two goals in the second period, one on a corner kick that curved elegantly inside the far post. Senior ME “Peanut” Nuttall got her first goal of the season with a heads-up rebound on her missed PK. Coach Stephen “Sleepy” Gathany decided to spread the love around his Senior class by opting for ME from the line, rather than Ellen “the Rock” Hughes who has already had three shots from the spot this year.
Stats: Shots – DHS lots and lots, CHS 0; Corners – DHS tons, CHS 0.
Goals: DHS – Williams (3, 29, 43), Strickland (32, 37, 39), Neil (42, 52), Vaughan (19), Nuttall (34)
Assists: Alyamani (1), Williams (2), Reiss (1), Neil (2)
Saves: Drenner (0), Mayer (0)
Halftime: DHS 7, CHS 0
Stats: Shots – DHS 12, PHS 0; Corners – DHS tons, PHS 0.
Goals: DHS – Neil (5, 30), Williams (72)
Assists: Williams (2)
Saves: Mayer (5), Drenner (9),
Halftime: DHS 2, PHS 2