“We dominated start to finish,” said Twin Valley coach Chris Walling. “It was definitely our best game of the year. We demonstrated control and had good possession the entire game.”
Twin Valley was able to show improvement on filling passing lanes, anticipating control by reaching gaps before their passes. Walling’s squad has shown better play since a recent offensive shakeup putting Nesbitt at striker, and moving Henriette Aas to the front line. On Twin Valley’s veteran defense, Walling relocated freshman Karlee Walkowiak into the defensive scheme to use her toughness and speed to harass opponents on the wings, while the defense in the box has worked well on denying good-angle shots.
It was Sammy Cunningham-Darrah who began the scoring for the Wildcats in the 18th minute, while Nesbitt and Hunt added their first goals within a five-minute span to close out the first half. Nesbitt found the net again in the 48th minute, while Hunt came in again with a score in the 52nd. Kristen Halbur put the exclamation point on the night with her first goal of the season three minutes later.
“It was a really solid performance by everyone,” said Walling, “It came down to finally putting it together and realizing how offensively it works for us.”
MSJ 2 TV 1
Coming off their big win Thursday night, the Wildcats wanted to make a statement in division IV soccer: defeat Mount St. Joseph Academy, take home a trophy, and take the 6-1 Green Wave down a notch in the standings. But a failure to produce offensively in the first half left the game at a 0-0 stalemate at the midway point. All of the mechanics that seemed to flow effortlessly against Arlington two nights before just didn’t add up.
Twin Valley’s defensive efforts kept them in the game along with freshman goalie Jessica Reilly, who Walling said had the “game of her life.” Four minutes into the second half, Bryn MaCallen put one in the back of the net for the 1-0 MSJ lead, a goal which lit a fire under the Wildcats. From that point on Twin Valley was awake, totally dominating offensive play, running the ball right by MSJ’s defenders along the sidelines.
Savannah Nesbitt finally got her girls on the board with just under 20 minutes to go, burying a 20-yard direct kick.
Reilly’s counterpart in the opposing net, Monica Schmelzenbach, had a fantastic game of her own, weathering offensive opportunities on top of offensive opportunities from Twin Valley, including two big shots from Nesbitt late in the half.
With a tied game and 10 minutes to go, the Wildcats let the game slip through their fingers with one defensive breakdown. MaCallen found herself wide open in the middle on a pass from left to right, took two touches and rifled one past Reilly for the go-ahead score.
With one last effort to tie the game, Nesbitt broke through the middle and had a one-on-one with Schmelzenbach, who daringly came out of the goalie box to dive at Nesbitt’s feet and preserve the win.
“It’s a game we should have won but didn’t and those are a tough pill for me to swallow,” said Walling.
Fair Haven 3 TV 0
The wheels continued to fall off the wagon for the Wildcats as they took a road loss to the tough Fair Haven Slaters 3-0. The good news is, the Wildcats have the talent, and plenty of season left to use it.
“It’s the same lineup as when we played Arlington and looked like world-beaters,” said coach Chris Walling. “But two games in a row now we’ve struggled with effort at times and the tactical parts of the game, stringing passes together.”
While the game was played between the 18s in the first half, and both teams struggled with possession, either team could have come out kicking in the second half. This time around, it was the Slaters. In the 56th minute, Bethany Lanphear scored on a loose ball off a scrum in the penalty box for the 1-0 advantage. But the Wildcats kept it close, continuing to try for the equalizer. Walling brough his entire team up in the final two minutes to try to force the tie, but when given the chance, Fair Haven was able to take advantage of this strategy as Vinny Orsi scored two goals in the final three minutes to seal the game.
“It’s been a rough week,” said Walling. “ We have to work hard and not accept that this is as good as we’re going to get.”
Twin Valley drops to 4-4 on the season and hosts Stratton Mountain School on Saturday at 3 pm.