|THE FINAL WORD: THOUGHTS ON THE OPENING DAY OF IAC GIRLS SOCCER (2017-08-29)
The IAC girls soccer season kicked off Monday with some mixed results.
A veteran Waverly team was impressive in a win over Dryden, while a young and under-manned Tioga suffered a lopsided loss at Moravia. Somewhere in the middle, SVEC dropped a hard-fought, 4-3, overtime decision at Marathon.
The Lady Wolverines are incredibly athletic.
Waverlys forwards and midfielders kept the ball in the Dryden defensive end for the majority of the game. Their pressure was so extensive that Dryden was forced to push the ball back to the keeper at least 10 times in the first 40 minutes.
On the rare occasion Dryden did penetrate into the Waverly end of the field, the Lady Wolverine defense shut down any threat well short of the goal.
Sophomore Melina Ortiz is a force in the midfield, breaking down defense and setting up teammates for good looks on goal. She also has an extremely strong leg as evidenced by a shot from 40 yards out that whistled over the crossbar.
Senior Kayla Kromelbein scored a pair of goals on nice shots, and nearly had two more. Her running mate on the other wing, Elle Nittinger, never got a good look on net, but was tirelessly chasing down ball on the sidelines the entire game.
Freshman Gabby Picco is a dynamo on the field. Likely underestimated by opponents due to her diminutive stature, she makes a habit of getting the ball into the box in the center of the field, which will eventually lead to a lot of goals.
Senior keeper Zoe Mennig didnt really face a hard shot, thanks to juniors Wendi Hammond and Alex Tomasso, and sophomore Cora Smith, who stuffed several second-half Dryden runs well short of the box.
I have two dates for the Lady Wolverines circled on my calendar both against Notre Dame. Waverly hosts the Lady Crusaders on Sept. 13, then travels there on Sept. 29. Both games are under the lights.
I knew it would be a difficult season for the Tioga girls with six freshmen and an 8th-grader all expected to see a great deal of time.
It was made even more difficult in the season opener at Moravia Monday by having only 10 players eligible. Several girls are ineligible for not having enough practices under their belt (mostly due to family vacations), and one player is injured.
Even down a player Monday, the Lady Tigers played fairly well in the first half, and did a lot of good things. They had a goal called back on an offsides call, and had a few other shots narrowly miss.
They simply wore down in the second half.
If this team can keep its collective chin up through some tough times early this season maybe even the entire season, the future is definitely bright.
SVEC opened its season at perennially-tough Marathon and dropped a 4-3 decision in overtime.
Senior Ari Blaasch had a career day with three goals, which could be a sign of big things to come for her and the Lady Eagles this season.
Theyre an athletic bunch, and if the young defense gels, they could very well repeat in the Small School Division.
The Final Word returns Wednesday following the opening night of the IAC volleyball season.
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