Kettle Run holds off Sherando girls’ soccer 2-1

Posted: April 6, 2013

Special to The Winchester Star

STEPHENS CITY — Tough breaks, bad bounces and near misses are a part of soccer, and the team that best takes advantage of them is usually going to win.

The Sherando girls’ soccer team got its share of all three Friday night and the end result was a tough, physical 2-1 non-district loss to Kettle Run at Arrowhead Stadium in the Warriors’ last tune up before they start Northwestern District play next week.

Sherando played most of the first half in the Cougars’ zone but was unable to come up with more than just one goal and that would prove costly as Kettle Run tallied an early second half goal and then held the Warriors at bay to capture the victory.

“It was a well-played, tough, physical game that forced us to step our game up to the next level and I think we did that,” Kettle Run coach Elizabeth Martin said. “That was our big goal tonight, to take it to the next level, play physical, work together. Our passing was on point tonight.

“We had the toughest part of our season early, we don’t sugarcoat our non-district games. We faced some losses early so it’s nice to get a win and to start moving forward to see where our season can go. We have so much potential.”

The Cougars (2-2) never trailed in the contest and used an early goal in each half to get the lead and put pressure on the Warriors. The difference in the second half was the Cougars were able to contain the Warriors’ offense a bit more and keep them from getting a lot of clean looks at the goal.

Just under eight minutes into the contest, Kettle Run jumped out on top thanks to senior Ivana Szwejkowski being in the right place at the right time.

Szwejkowski had placed herself in perfect position right in front of the Warriors’ net and her positioning paid off when a loose ball found its way right to her. She was able to gather the ball, gain control and then put the Cougars on the board with a shot into the net on the near side for the 1-0 advantage.

Unfazed by the early goal, the Warriors (2-2) continued to put pressure on the Cougars’ net throughout the first half but ended up with nothing to show for it.

Shots by Sherando sailed high, or wide, or often times there was simply a turnover in the box before a good shot was placed on net. But Sherando still found itself down a goal as the clock was winding down in the first half.

On two different occasions during the course of the game a shot hit either the crossbar or a post and worked to the disadvantage of the Warriors, turning what may have been a 2-1 victory into a single-goal defeat.

With just under six minutes left in the first half Sherando had its best opportunity to tie the match. The Warriors let a blast go from the far side of the field right on goal. However, the ball hit the crossbar and dropped straight down without crossing the goal line. Before Sherando could put home a rebound the ball was secured and cleared out of the box.

Just 30 seconds later, however, the Warriors made amends when junior Katelyn Tuck beat the Cougars’ keeper to the lower-back corner to tie the game 1-1 heading into the break.

“That’s a good quality team there. I’m glad they’re on our schedule,” Sherando coach Rob Kilmer said. “That makes us better. We get to learn from this now. It’s a learning experience for us. We got to learn to take shots, take chances.

“It’s a good game to have right before districts, lets us know where we are.”

The first 10 minutes of the second half were back-and-forth with neither team seeing a lot of scoring opportunities.

With 27:53 showing on the clock, the Cougars took the lead for good. Kettle Run’s Emily Rodemsky took a pass right in front of the Warriors’ net and before the defense could collapse around her she was able to get off a shot.

She sent her shot towards the near side back corner, but it was just a bit off and for the second time in the game a shot hit a bar, this time the left post. Unfortunately for the Warriors, Rodemsky’s shot kicked off the bar and into the back of the net. giving the Cougars their 2-1 advantage and eventually the game.

“It was a nice play,” Martin said. “We played it out of the back, played it out wide. Communication was on point, played that ball in, one touch and she made it happen. It’s nice to see them working together.”

With the lead the Cougars started clogging the middle of the field and though Sherando had its chances in the second half, there were not as many and most not as good as the first half.