LUDLOW- The Twin Valley girls’ varsity soccer team dropped to 2-2 on the season after losing on the road to the Black River Presidents Tuesday night 5-2.
Twin Valley got off to a bad start, letting up four goals in the first 26 minutes, including a three-goal cluster within a seven-minute span between the 19th minute and the 26th. In that time, the Wildcats were beaten by Black River’s outside speed as well as their possession play in the middle, and were unable to advance the ball out of their defensive zone. Morgan Kathan provided the offensive spark for Black River with a first-half hat trick.
“We didn’t mark up well with them and we gave them too much space,” said Wildcats coach Chris Walling. “If you give a team with decent speed that much space, they’ll pick you apart, and as a group of 10 on the field we just didn’t do our jobs.”
Savannah Nesbitt provided some hope going into the half for the Wildcats, booting in a penalty kick from inside the box following a President handball, and Twin Valley was down by a less daunting three goals.
In the second half, Twin Valley was able to string their plays together better, and started to attack instead of going for the clear. The Wildcats were also able to establish play to the corners and get chances on goal. On defense, the Wildcats worked on marking up with Black River to slow down their offense, rather than going for the steal. Walling said that freshman goalie Jessica Reilly worked hard in goal, and regardless of the end score, made some important saves to keep the game from getting out of reach. He also commended the play of defensive leader Hannah Swanson, who aggressively played balls in the air and slide-tackled inside the box to save goals.
Kathan would score one more time for Black River in the second half to cap a four-goal game, and put the game out of reach. Sammy Cunningham-Darrah found Twin Valley’s second goal, booting one to the left past diving keeper Elsa Eliasson with four minutes left.
Following the 26th minute, Twin Valley outscored Black River 2-1, but those seven minutes in the first half proved too big a hole to climb out of.
“Our offense still has some work to do, it was nonexistent in the first half,” said Walling. “We need to do a better job switching fields and widening the field. It’s still early and I’m not overly concerned. There’s time to fix it.”
Twin Valley plays Fair Haven Union today at 4:30 at Baker Field.