Lady Bulldogs drop conference title

Published 6:56 pm Saturday, May 28, 2016

The King’s Fork High School girls’ soccer team lost the Conference 17 tournament championship to Great Bridge High School 3-2 in overtime on Friday.

King’s Fork played a pretty well balanced game, leaning on Cydney Nichols to guide them. Nichols was the conference player of the year last season but this year is coming off of a high ankle sprain. Her explosiveness was seen throughout the game, as the Lady Bulldogs held the score tight until the end.

King’s Fork coach Mike Marston believes that Nichols’ health is improving at the right time of the season.

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“She has pretty much got her explosiveness back and can get to any position on the field even against top level players,” said Marston. “Cydney seems to be back in her dominating style of play that she had last year.”

Logan Montel scored twice to post her team’s only goals for the game.

With a spot in regionals already secured, King’s Fork still wanted to play with intensity leading up to regional play. The girls were disappointed about the loss but realized that they have another opportunity next week to get back on track.

“No one’s ever happy with losing,” said Marston. “But they had understood that they had already won the game that really mattered. I told them I was happy with their overall effort considering the quantity of matches they’ve had over the past few weeks.”

King’s Fork set themselves up with numerous opportunities to score, but the Lady Bulldogs could not capitalize on the chances that they made available. They had a good plan of shutting down one of Great Bridge’s most dominant players, Katie Miranse. She was stopped in the first half thanks to the Lady Bulldogs defense.

But in the second half, Great Bridge came out with a new strategy and switched Miranse’s position, and the Lady Bulldogs were unable to contain her at that point.

“Everything we did, they had to adjust to us completely,” Marston said. “In the first half, Katie had no impact on the game whatsoever. Then the coach changed everything he did with her and moved her to the middle of the field.”

With Great Bridge’s offense on their side of the field heavily throughout the game, Marston was pleased at the girls’ defensive effort.

“Anything they tried to do, our defenders and midfielders were just flexing in and out of shape and rotating and just keeping their shape,” said Marston. “This was probably the best organization I’ve seen this team have defensively in the three years I’ve been coach. They really looked like a pro team from an organizational standpoint.”

King’s Fork will face Smithfield High School in the first round of the regional tournament at 6 p.m. Monday. They get the advantage of playing on their home field.