“I thought we played well,” said Twin Valley coach Chris Walling. “We had opportunities.”
Twin Valley only needed one goal to win the match. That score was provided by senior Jordyn Bolognani. She drilled a shot from the top of the box past Sharon goalkeeper Rory Livingston for the game’s sole tally. It came less than a minute into the second half.
“I told them at halftime they’ve got to shoot the ball more,” said Walling. “They listened to that message. I told them that any time they had the ball at the “D” they should shoot. Obviously, Jordyn heard that.”
Walling said he was pleased with the team’s overall effort, especially the passing on the offensive end and the overall play of the defense. He cited the play of freshman Rita Messing, who made a critical clear on a Sharon direct kick late in the match, and of freshman Jayden Crawford, who made her first varsity start in goal. “Rita was right where she was supposed to be on the direct kick, right on the back post. Jayden played well in goal, she was solid with her hands, didn’t bobble any balls. She worked really hard in practice to prepare. I’m really proud of her.”
Walling also cited the play of midfielder Tatyana Bowman, who hit booming kicks from just about every spot on the field, including the corners. Two or three corners might have led to scores, but the Wildcats were unable to finish the plays. “She was hitting the ball heavy today. She ate her Wheaties.”
Walling was happy for the four senior players on the team, Bolognani, Bowman, Tayler Courchesne, and Callie Dix. “I took them aside before the match and told them to make the game theirs today. It was their last game on their home field. They did a good job today, and they weren’t ready for it to end.”
The win was the Wildcats’ first playoff victory in a decade, according to Walling. That 2007 team went on to win the state championship.
But the hill gets much steeper along the way, as the 5-9-1 Wildcats will have to face top-seeded and undefeated Arlington on Saturday. The Eagles beat Twin Valley 8-0 earlier this season. Game time is 1 pm, in Arlington.
OV 3, TV 0
BRANDON- The Twin Valley girls’ varsity soccer team headed to Otter Valley High School on Saturday for their final game of the regular season. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, things didn’t work out all that well. They came home on the short end of the score, losing 3-0 to the host Otters.
“It didn’t go as planned,” said Twin Valley coach Chris Walling. “I expected a close game.” The two teams had played to a 0-0 tie earlier in the season at Hayford Field in Wilmington.
As was often the case in many of their matches this season, the Wildcats played well in the middle of the field, but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. Add to that some defensive lapses, and the Wildcats fell into a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
“We didn’t mark up and made some bad decisions,” said Walling. “They netted three goals relatively quickly.”
In the second half, Walling realized the team was going to continue to have scoring trouble, so he changed goalies and pushed his players up on the attack.
“I pulled Tayler (Courchesne) and put Jayden (Crawford) in goal. Then we went with three on the back line and six midfielders. We dominated the middle but still couldn’t put one in. We had some point-blank misses, a couple shots went wide, and some just didn’t get there.”
Walling admitted he was taking a risk with the thin defensive unit, but felt it was necessary to take a chance. “It’s not the best scenario defensively, but they seemed to play better. We were able to get some control in the middle of the field. It’s not the ideal situation, but we’ve got to score more goals.”
The Wildcats went scoreless in six of their games this season, and scored only one goal in four others. They lost nine of those matches, along with the Otter Valley tie. They scored three or more goals in each of their four wins.