Tallwood nips Bulldogs in final minutes
Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The King’s Fork High girls soccer team is improved this season, but so apparently, are the Tallwood Lions, who prevailed 4-3 in the teams’ nondistrict clash Monday.
A year after the teams tied, Tallwood scored the winning goal with 4:30 remaining when freshman forward Jessica Ewing blew down the right wing and around a defender before firing a shot under the crossbar.
The host Bulldogs (5-4) surrendered the game’s first goal but led 2-1 at halftime and 3-2 with 30 minutes to play. The blown leads were hard for King’s Fork coach Gina Herr to swallow, but not as difficult as her team’s seeming nonchalance in the late going. The team finished below .500 last season but has a chance to end this season with a winning record and Herr is determined not to let her troops slack off.
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“When there are one or two minutes left and you’re down by a goal, you have to be willing to go hard to the ball,” Herr told her assembled players after the game. “If we get a penalty, so be it, but we have to compete all the way through.”
Tallwood (2-7), which dwells in the fiercely competitive Beach District, showed that sort of determination with its repeated rallies. Senior midfielder Nicole Gomez tied the game 3-3 with 28 minutes remaining when she lofted a long shot from the right side over goalkeeper Ashlee Gibson and into the net. It was the second high, floating shot that eluded the netminder during the afternoon, but Herr said the sophomore is greatly improved from a year ago.
“She didn’t get off her line like she should have today, but she’s stepped up her game as far as taking command of the backfield,” Herr said of Gibson, who was carried off the field late in the game with an apparent right ankle injury and didn’t return. “Your goalie is always supposed to do that, but it can be hard when you have a younger player in that role.”
Tallwood used the first of its lob shots to open the scoring in the 14th minute but Beth Wehner tapped in a rebound four minutes later for a 1-1 tie and Erica Jefferson scored on a breakaway with 13 minutes remaining in the half to give King’s Fork the lead.
The Lions forged a 2-2 tie just two minutes after halftime. Bulldogs defender Whitney Nichols collided with Tallwood’s Haley Kimball about 25 yards from the goal and in the center of the field and when the ball rolled away and towards Gibson, the Lions’ Ewing got there first and popped a shot under the crossbar.
Kristi Tew put King’s Fork up 3-2 when she converted a Kayla Albright cross and Jefferson took off on another breakaway a minute later but shot the ball off the right post. A minute after that, Tallwood’s Gomez struck from long distance and the Bulldogs never recovered.