TISKILWA — After scoring a total of only one goal in their first four games, the Princeton Tigresses soccer squad erupted for four goals Thursday, defeating the IVC Grey Ghosts 4-0 on their home pitch.
The game actually appeared as if it was going to be a nip and tuck affair as the Tigresses were hanging tight to a 1-0 lead well into the second half. The lead came via the foot of sophomore Maria Vitale who scored in the 22nd minute.
The play was tense, and the ball moved back and forth across the field throughout the first half and into the second frame. But things seemed to change in the 53rd minute when junior goal keeper Kelly Schmidt and the Tigress defense fought off a Ghost attack on two successive corner kicks.
“Ellie (Bonucci) tried to take a touch, and the ball went straight up,” said Schmidt. “I called for it. I knew my defenders would have my back in the goal, so I went after it. It hit off one of our girls’ head and bounced out of bounds.”
Schmidt credits her defense for the second stop as well.
“The defenders all had their marks, so I knew it was safe to come out and get the ball,” she said.
Though the defense deserves credit, Schmidt might be acting a bit modest. Her second stop was not an easy one at all. It came off a rebound of a previous shot that was knocked out by senior Becca Turpen. Rebounds are tough enough to defend. But Schmidt also had to contend with the fact the next shot was deflected off another player before she dove to save it.
From that point, the Tigresses dominated play, putting constant offensive pressure on the Ghosts and turning Schmidt, who had been very busy up to that point, into a bystander.
PHS coach Ed Young places the turnaround a few minutes later than that flourish.
“There was a moment about 15 minutes into the second half, when there was a calm that came over our team,” he said. “The ball came out to Liz on the left side, and she settled it. She looked around the field, and I looked too, and everybody was moving and positioned around the field where they needed to be. There was a pass, and we moved the ball up the field. All of the sudden there was a momentum – something just clicked with the team that I really felt.”
The Tigresses then began to break the game open with exactly 20 minutes to go in the contest when Michelle Kelly scored off a fumble by Ghost keeper Meri Terpstra. The fumble came when freshman Eliza Young launched a high shot that was reminiscent of a baseball pop up. The English on the ball resulted in the mishandling by Terpstra with Kelly there to take advantage of it.
Five minutes later, Young earned her first goal of the season after a flourish of activity in the net. Ellie Bonucci was credited with the assist.
Finally, in the 75th minute, junior captain Emma Reidner made a picture perfect inlet from the right corner that went past the attempted header of one Tigress and right to the feet of freshman forward Michaela Strom who put it in the back of the net.
Reidner said the Tigresses “found their composure” after the Schmidt saves.
“I think we had our shock of them possibly be able to come back on us,” she said. “We realized that we just needed to settle down and play the way we were taught to play.”
With the loss, the Grey Ghosts fall to 0-3-1 while the Tigresses, with their second consecutive victory, improve to 2-3. The Tigresses next match is Monday in Ottawa.
• PHS was also victorious in the junior varsity warm up match, breaking a scoreless deadlock on second half goals by sophomores Maddie McKeown and Kim Schlesinger. The Tigresses held on to win by a score of 2-1.
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