Warrior girls miss on chances in 1-0 loss to Brentsville
Posted: March 14, 2013
Special to The Winchester Star
STEPHENS CITY — The Sherando girls’ soccer team constantly put pressure on visiting Brentsville on Wednesday night.
The Warriors spent a good bit of the game trying to push the ball up and get good looks at the goal, only to come up short a few times. The Tigers, on the other hand, did not get many chances, but they did make the most of a Sherando breakdown deep in the second half to score the non-district match’s only goal.
Failing to clear a ball at the top of the goal box, the Warriors could only watch as Brentsville senior Gillian Lowe looped her kick into the back of the net over the outstretched arms of Sherando keeper Maribeth Stotler-Watkins in the 62nd minute to give the Tigers a 1-0 win at blustery Arrowhead Stadium.
As he stood on the chilly Sherando sideline minutes after his team dropped to 1-1 on the season, Sherando coach Rob Kilmer could only shake his head in disbelief.
“[It was] missed opportunities,” said Kilmer, who saw his team miss a wide-open attempt from about 10 yards out in the final minute that could have tied the match. “Yep, it was missed opportunities. They took care of their one good opportunity, and we didn’t.”
The goal for Lowe, who scored five goals last season before a torn ACL sidelined her for the playoffs, provided a big lift for her confidence heading into the new season. Lowe is one of the few returning regulars for Brentsville (2-0), which opened its season with a 3-2 win over James Monroe on Monday.
And though he graduated 12 players from a team that lost in the Region II semifinals to eventual Group AA champion Woodgrove, Brentsville coach Sean Weddel has been encouraged by what he has seen so far this week from his team that starts four freshmen and three sophomores.
“It’s like I was talking with coach Kilmer tonight — both sides are very young [Sherando has six freshmen, three of which start] and we’re trying to find our grooves,” Weddel said. “Tonight was [our] second match of the season, and I couldn’t be happier. They’re a good group and they’re working well to adjust to everything.
“The improvement [from the first match] was definitely our communication and confidence level is going up.”
Weddel made Lowe a captain before the season, and her leadership showed through against the Warriors. Brentsville was held without a shot on goal in the first half and did not get its first until the 57th minute. But with the game still scoreless, Lowe was in the right spot at the right time five minutes later to cash in.
Sherando had trouble clearing a loose ball at the top of the penalty box, and Brentsville striker Rachel Marion pounced, flipping it to Lowe who was right in front of her.
Lowe sent an arching kick perfectly into the back of the net and the Tigers would make the lead hold up over the last 18 minutes.
“[I] got a little through ball, and we can score off of that every single time,” Lowe said. “The wind really helped and I’m glad we had the wind [to our backs] in the second half. It really worked to our advantage to get that goal.”
The breakdown proved costly for Sherando, which was coming off a season-opening 2-1 win at home Monday over Spotswood.
“It was just a bad clear,” Kilmer said. “We hit it low.”
Neither team had a serious threat on goal in the first half (Sherando out-shot Brentsville 5-0 over the first 40 minutes), but the Warriors missed several opportunities in the opening minutes of the second half to score and gain momentum.
In the 41st minute sophomore Tori Dean sent a shot straight at Brentsville keeper Sydney All, who made the save. Nine minutes later sophomore Audra Sites sent a blast just wide of the net and a minute later, freshman Lauren Reed’s corner kick was broken up by All.
In the final eight minutes, two more chances went by the wayside. The Tigers had a reserve keeper in after All got hurt, but Sherando could not convert. In the 72nd minute, Reed sent another corner kick into Dean, which was saved by Brentsville. Then, with around 30 seconds left, Brentsville’s keeper tried to clear from close to her goal, but instead lost control, as the ball found its way out to a wide-open Sites.
Sites had a good path to the net, but her kick chipped wide to the left, and the Tigers held on.
“You look at us, against the wind, and we had fantastic opportunities here at the end,” Kilmer said. “So [the misses] hurt us right there. We’ll learn from it.”
Sherando starts just two seniors in Stotler-Watkins and Rose Carey.