POCA — This week’s girls’ soccer game features the Lady Wildcats of Logan visiting Poca’s Lady Dots on Sept. 19. Judging from their records so far this season, these two teams would appear to be fairly evenly matched, with both having won six of their ten games — but, as it turned out, this game didn’t reflect that.
The visitors kicked off but failed to take control of the ball and the Dots surged forward. Their initial attack came to nothing but in the third minute they forced a corner on the right side. The ball was sent over toward the Logan goalkeeper, she fumbled and her defense failed to clear it, giving Poca’s No. 2, Estrella Hernandez, an easy tap in for the first goal.
Four minutes later, Hernandez took a throw in and sent the ball to Ellie Minor, but her shot lacked power and proved an easy pick-up for the Logan keeper.
The Dots were doing most of the pressing during the first period, with Logan only making occasional forays into Poca’s half of the field. Leading the visitors’ attack was Peyton Ilderton, partnered by Natalie Blankenship, but it was soon apparent that, although these two worked well together, they lacked support from their midfield and their moves broke down because they were constantly outnumbered by the home team’s defense and midfield.
Although Poca mounted several attacks and forced two corners in quick succession, they were unable to capitalize on them as their attempts broke down in the face of Logan’s mass defense. It wasn’t until the 18th minute that Katie Farley received the ball midway in the Wildcats’ half and ran up the left side line before turning into the area, shooting and scoring to double the Dots lead.
During the next few minutes the Wildcats forwards tried hard to reduce the deficit. Most of their attacks broke down just inside the Poca half of the field, but Peyton Ilderton did manage to penetrate as far as the edge of the Dot’s penalty area and get away two shots on goal, the first of which went straight to the keeper while the second was blocked by the Poca defense.
The home team countered these attacks by applying continual pressure that the visitors failed to clear.
This paid off in the 37th minute when Estrella Hernadez tried a snap shot that the visiting keeper could only parry out for a corner to the Dots on the left side.
The ball was played short to Katie Farley, who lobbed it over the defenders and into the net for Poca’s third goal. From the kick off Poca again won possession and almost immediately forced a corner which came to nothing, the score remaining Poca 3 – Logan 0 at the end of the half.
The Dots kicked off the second half and immediately went back onto the attack with a shot going just wide less than a minute after the restart. It was a sign of things to come, a minute later Katie Koontz, the Poca No. 8, received the ball on the left wing and passed it to Alexis Kowalkowski who found the net to score number four for the Dot’s.
The next goal was the best of the game as No. 4 Katie Farley won the ball from an opponent near the halfway line and ran the length of the field, avoiding tackles, before angling in and hitting an unstoppable shot from the left edge of the penalty area to bring the score up to five for Poca.
The Logan front runners tried to reply, but their midfield did not move forward in support and at one stage there were just three of the Wildcat players near the Dots’ penalty area and all of other visitor’s players stayed in their own half of the field. The Logan strikers had no one to pass to and every time they got the ball, they were outnumbered by the home defense.
Despite this, Peyton Ilderton did make several runs forward, usually winning the ball in her team’s half of the field with Emily Ball and Natalie Blankenship supporting her, but all of these came to nothing as the three white shirts were surrounded in a crowd of red ones.
The Dots were also trying to increase their tally, having a shot cleared off the line in the tenth minute after the keeper fumbled a cross from the right wing. Katie Farley also ran from the halfway line, beating five defenders attempts to stop her only to see her final shot go well wide. Five minutes later she repeated the feat with the same result.
That was the end of the scoring attempts by both sides. The Dots worked well together, their passes were fast and accurate and they contested every ball. Logan’s forwards, especially Peyton Ilderton, did well under the circumstances and, if they had been given support from their midfield could have done much better. By staying back the visitors’ midfield not only didn’t provide the support for their strikers, they also got in the way of their defenders and they may want to consider changing their tactics for future games.