|Jays register shutout of Lady Knights|
|Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:25 AM|
By JIM METCALFE
CONVOY — St. John’s girls soccer coach John Munoz sure felt like his Lady Blue Jays didn’t get their money’s worth for how well they played on a hot and humid Tuesday night.
He was referring to the 3-0 shutout victory over the host Lady Knights at the Crestview Sports Complex.
“We had so many chances to score. I felt that we could easily have had more than three goals,” he explained. “We created so many great scoring opportunities but we just couldn’t finish for whatever reason. We hit the bar a couple of times and just were off-target — not my much — on several others. Other times, we just didn’t have the timing on some great crosses; we’re getting there but not yet.”
For Crestview coach Melissa Mefferd, the struggles are on the offensive end.
“We have a hard time putting together an offensive sequence. We’ve made a conscious decision to now focus more on the defensive end,” she explained. “We aren’t really going to score a lot of goals and feel that packing it in more will give us a chance to hold our opponents down and not give up a lot of goals, especially with a new goalkeeper: Alyssa (Walter) was only playing her third match in that position and she played well but she also faced a lot of pressure.”
The Jays (4-4-1) had one chance at the 36:10 mark but senior Lindsey Warnecke was wide from 17 yards.
At the 30:29 mark, off a cross pass from freshman Carleigh Ankerman from the right side, Blue Jay senior Madison Kreeger got control; with the senior Guest (11 saves versus 23 shots on-goal) slightly out of position, Kreeger fired a 4-yarder inside the right post for a 1-0 edge.
Both teams struggled to get into position for good attempts at the goal the remainder of the half.
The best opportunity for the Lady Knights (1-4-1) was at 16:50 when senior Brooke Bowen tried a cross pass from the right side but St. John’s junior netminder Samantha Wehri (3 saves vs. 3 shots on-goal) snuffed it out before a Knight could get a try.
The Jays had two nice tries in a 5-second span — at 10:16 and 10:12 — when a 12-yarder by freshman Maria Giambruno-Fuge and a 16-yarder by Warnecke were both deflected by defenders.
On a direct kick at 1:54, Kreeger had a 22-yarder from the right post that was just wide of the mark.
With the Jays having better depth (18 players versus the Knights’ 16 due to three injured players), it started to show as the second half wore on, though the Jays couldn’t seemingly get anything to show for it.
Several chances were denied by Walter (10 saves), especially at 24:48 when St. John’s senior Samantha Bonifas was on the doorstep of the right post but her blast was deflected away by the keeper; or else they missed just over the top or wide.
As well, the Jays hit the crossbar two times: at 20:12, when Kreeger had an acute angle from the right wing and her 12-yarder hit the bar and went out of bounds; and at 4:53, when sophomore Erin Williams’ floater from 25 yards hit the bar.
The Jays finally up 2-0 at 15:34 when senior Jessica Koverman made a great individual move to maneuver into position from the right wing and went opposite from 10 yards.
The Blue and Gold got a little bit of luck with 28.4 seconds left against a clearly spent Crestview crew when Kreeger fired a looper from the top of the 18-yard box, hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing over the goalline for a 3-0 edge.
The Lady Knights had three solid opportunities in the second 40 minutes but all were denied by Wehri: at 35:10, when junior Kaitlin Hallfeldt tried from the left wing; at 26:25, when freshman Kylee Agler’s 20-yarder was denied; and at 15:22, when senior Riley Guest was stopped from 15 yards on the right wing.
“We keep improving on the little things, like possessing the ball, controlling the ball, making good passes and good runs,” Munoz added. “We’re getting good decisions, especially out of our midfield, as when to go long ball and when to go the short route. I felt we controlled the match in every phase. These girls work hard and we’ll get better at timing things up and hopefully, finishing. It was hot but we rotated the girls well to keep them as ready to go as possible.”
Mefferd appreciated her team’s effort to the end.
“I felt we played really well for the first 60-70 minutes but that is when the heat and our lack of depth really took over, especially with our injuries,” she added. “We were worn out and gave up a couple of goals late. We really need to get everybody back healthy so we can give girls more breathers and we’re always trying to improve our conditioning. We’ll work hard at practice (today) and hope the weather cuts us a break.”
That would be Thursday: the Jays host Continental and the Knights visit Fort Jennings, both at 5 p.m.