Warriors, Colonels girls’ soccer teams settle for 4-4 draw

Posted: April 30, 2013

Special to The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Ties are never enjoyable for either team, and Monday’s Northwestern District girls’ soccer match between James Wood and Sherando was no exception at Kelican Stadium.

With second place in the district on the line and the Colonels (4-6-2, 2-1-2) leading 4-3 with just a minute to play, Wood watched helplessly as Warrior Victoria Dean scored from nearly point-blank range with seconds left on the clock to send the game into overtime.

“This is a real heartbreaker, but I told our girls that a month ago we would have lost this game,” Wood coach Jim Carden said. “But we came back and came back this time. It’s tough to tie after the effort we put into this game.”

The Colonels, however, managed to overcome their disappointment and fought hard through the two overtimes to get their lead back.

Outshooting Sherando (6-4, 2-2-1) 4-0, the Colonels were turned back repeatedly by Warrior goalkeeper Maribeth Stotler-Watkins, who made two difficult saves in the overtime.

In the first half, the game didn’t look anything like the offensive shootout it became in the final minutes of play. Both teams combined for just nine shots in a first half dominated by defense.

Wood scored first on a shot by Abigail Lanham just eight minutes into the game, but the Colonels were unable to crack the scoreboard again for the rest of the half.

Sherando finally answered 20 minutes later when a blistering shot by Lauren Reed went through the hands of Colonel goalkeeper Emily Woods-Hulse.

Between those two successful shots both teams battled fiercely against the other’s defense, only to be turned back time and time again.

With the game tied 1-1 after 40 minutes of play, things changed dramatically. Over the first 10 minutes of play in the second half seven shots on goal were taken as each team’s offense took over the game.

“I thought this was a sloppy game by both teams,” Warrior coach Rob Kilmer said. “You give up four goals you really don’t deserve to win. In the second half we threw numbers at their goal, and they did the same to us. Lack of good marking and mistakes were the result. I’m not happy getting out of here with a tie. We were up twice and couldn’t hold the lead.”

Sherando was the first to capitalize on the newfound offensive explosion. With 27 minutes left in the game Reed sent a cross from the right wing to teammate Ryan McKenna, who hammered it past Woods-Hulse to give the Warriors their first lead, 2-1.

Although it took two tries, 10 minutes later it was Wood’s turn to flex its offensive muscles.

Colonel midfielder Alex Stanford hit a hard shot from just 10 yards out that looked like a sure goal, but Stotler-Watkins reacted perfectly, deflecting the ball over the crossbar.

“It was a tough game, but I thought the whole team stepped up and did what we had to do to win,” Stanford said. “It was really frustrating when she blocked my shot.”

Sherando’s relief over Stotler-Watkins’ save was short-lived though. Colonel Meghan Hammond smashed the ensuing corner kick low and hard towards the Warrior front post, and the ball bounced off Stotler-Watkins’ hands into the net to tie the score 2-2.

If Wood thought that Hammond’s spectacular goal would give the Colonels the momentum, Reed took just two minutes to prove that theory wrong. The Warrior freshman hit a perfect shot from right wing off the far post to put Sherando back ahead 3-2 with 14:30 to play.

“I was trying to cross it to the front post and hope one of our players would knock it in,” Hammond said. “I was really lucky when the goalkeeper dropped it. It was really frustrating to come so close and not quite get the win.”

Just three minutes later Stanford tied the game again with a shot from five yards out. When Colonel center forward Emily Denton scored with 10:30 to play, Wood took their first lead since the first 10 minutes of play.

They were able to hold that lead for the next 10:25, only to watch Dean score the tying goal for Sherando.

“That was a really hard fought game,” said Reed, who on Monday set the freshman record for assists in a season (seven) to break the mark shared by Brittini Dennis and Krista DeCeault. “Both teams were down at some point. But both teams battled back. We just had to keep fighting and not give up. One thing about our team is that we aren’t fazed by being behind. We just fight back and find a way to get back into the game.”