The drive to the training grounds at Pitcher Junior High for the match v. Covington High was challenging. Unavoidable, frustrating traffic accompanied a thick veil of fog coming across Lake Pontchartrain. In the fog the world is blurred, taking observant concentration to make sense of it all. Invigorated Ursuline Lions were up to the challenge waiting on the Northshore.
The Covington Lady Lions started the match with the kickoff. Our fierce State St Lions jumped on the attack with single-minded Senior McKenna Brannan seizing possession right away. For a brief moment, it looked to be similar to the previous match - a blistering battle in the midfield. Nursing injuries did not play out on this night, however.
The thought that defense is only the job of the goalkeeper couldn't be further from the truth. Precision punting and redistribution of the ball to kick start the offense were emblematic of the keeper play from resilient Junior Jenna Hoisington in the first half and unbreakable Freshman Gracie Frank for the second half. Each keeper had 6 well-earned saves on the night.
Defenders put on a clinic. Close-fisted junior Mae Ying Stock-Bordnick, persistent eighth-grader Aribelle Holley, inflexible sophomore Ava Pelletier, and stalwart sophomore Isabel Lambiet put on an improved showing as they worked to rush, pressure, and confuse attackers, thus causing them to make mistakes and miss opportunities. Then, our strong defenders restarted the offense.
Crisply in the 3rd minute, prescient freshman Nimah Baloney pushed a through ball past the Covington back line to blazing junior Emma Scobel who found the warm, friendly net for the second game in a row. The temerity of this Ursuline team continued. In the 5th minute, relentless eighth-grader Lillian Wiseman blasted another offering for blistering Scobel to torch the net. Shots on goal continued through the first half with steely junior Keira Kelly. The 3rd Ursuline goal was to explode on net by a pass from strong-willed Brannan to laser focused Scobel - now pulling off a hat trick.
In the 30th minute, unyielding Covington broke the clean sheet for the State Street squad with a well earned goal. Tenacious senior Natalia Mann and tireless sophomore Kate Martin pressured the Covington backline, keeping our pressure high when they came on, and maintained the attack for our Lions. At half time, all knew it would take much more execution to rise out of the fog and finish this match. 3 minutes after kicking off the second half, again, implacable Wiseman induced another opportunity for scorching Scobel who readily converted. After multiple opportunities for both sides, in the 74th minute, persistent Covington succeeded on a set-piece kick from just outside the box.
State Street Lions offense by the numbers: 25 shots / 11 shots on target / 91 passes / 2 corner kicks.
An encouraging Coach Mason told the media after the match, "Happy with the result and the effort that we put in. We prepared for how that match would play out and prepared well. Credit to the girls for improving every day at practice and focusing on certain aspects of the scouting reports our coaching staff get. They deserve all the reward. A win before the Christmas break is always nice so now we can hopefully keep the positive momentum going into the next year."
Each time out improvements are strikingly evident. Much more exciting soccer to play for this exuberant young team. Next up, the Lions visit Pearl River on January 11, at 5 p.m. The soccer world is excited about our team!