McKenna Poulos gave the Southridge girls’ soccer team hope against Westview.

The combination of Dayna Carlson and Haley Clark handed the Skyhawks a significant 2-1 come-from-behind win.

After knocking on the Wildcats’ door for 48 minutes, but still trailing 1-0 Poulos broke through with the tying goal. Eight minutes into the second half, Southridge sophomore Kelsey Beber passed to Poulos, who made an inside cut to about the 25-yard line. Beber placed the ball perfectly to Poulos, who had space and popped a corkscrew over Westview Rachael Lusby’s right hand and into the net for the tying score.

“I didn’t think it was going to go over the goalie’s hand, but it was a good shot,” said Poulos. “After we scored, we got our momentum back and started working as a team. We thought, ‘We can actually win this and come back’.”

The game-winning goal was set up by Carlson, who made a great run to the outside of the pitch with 9:13 remaining in the second half. Carlson careened out wide and with no Wildcat defenders around, raced into the heart of Westview’s defense. The forward waited until Westview’s Michelle Bodart committed to stopping her run, and then sniped a cross to Clark, who clinched the score with a right-footed boot to the low left corner of the goal to go up 2-1.

Southridge’s defense made sure Clark’s score held up, foiling a duo of Wildcat shots in the final four minutes to run their Metro record to 2-2, good enough for third place in league.

Clark said in the second half, Southridge tried to settle down and play the ball because the potential was there to score and climb back in the TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge freshman midfielder McKenna Poulous kicks a pass upfield against Westviews Lexi Kerr.

“(Carlson) made a perfect run,” said Clark. “It all happened by playing passes to feet, finally, and that’s how you can score. We have really fast players out wide, and it showed there.”

Westview wrestled away a 1-0 lead in the first half, when sophomore Mallory Ashcraft scored off a corner kick by Reed Richardson with 24:56 to go. Bianca Zavala kicked the initial attempt, which was blocked by Southridge, but Ashcraft was in the right place at the right time and booted home the first score.

“I thought I was offsides, but (Zavala) held the line,” said Ashcraft.

“I kind of tucked it as my back was to the goal. It was pretty exciting. It’s good to create those chances to see what we’re capable of. Right now, we just need to work on putting away our opportunities.”

The Wildcats didn’t have as many shot attempts after Ashcraft’s score, in part because Southridge’s backline of Maddie Misi and Meredith Greer took the bull by the horns and put a no-fly zone near the net. Junior defender Olivia Brown said Westview settled on offense and stopped driving the ball with the same aggressiveness.

“I think we got kind of comfortable after that first goal, and that’s why things broke down,” said Brown. “But, I think we played really well overall. We just have to finish our opportunities up top. That’s something we’re working at in practice. Every day is an opportunity for us to get better in practice and in games.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview defender Renee Bodart kicks a ball away from Southridges offense in the first half of the Wildcats 2-1 loss on Monday.

Ashcraft said Westview has to capitalize on its finishes and sort out its defense on the backline. When it comes down to it, Ashcraft alleges, the Wildcats need a couple goals on the board to be comfortable and not have to worry about playing defense the entire game or have to catch up. The Wildcats won a bulk of the 50-50 balls in the middle that generated offensive possibilities and spawned passes from their midfielders to their forwards.

Brown said Westview’s spirits got down after Southridge’s second goal, but the team’s working to keep the intensity up for the full match.

“We’ve been working a lot on using the outsides switching the ball through the middle,” said Brown. “Once we have it on the outside, we try to cross it into our forwards, who are very good at finishing balls in the air.”

All Westview has to do, after coming up empty in the second half, is put the ball away. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview defender Renee Bodart kicks a ball away from Southridges offense in the first half of the Wildcats 2-1 loss on Monday.

“If we learn from our mistakes and prioritize what we need to do in the back, we can build up and score,” said Ashcraft. “We definitely had a lot of opportunities on goal. We just need to finish, work on our individual defense and defense as a whole.”

Poulos said Southridge is adjusting to each other’s individual games early in the Metro season, but noted the Westview win is only going to help them get better.

Clark said this season’s Skyhawk team is the best the school’s had in quite some time.

“I feel like this is one of the greatest teams we’ve had at Southridge,” said Clark. “This team has a lot of potential. I think we can do really well in the playoffs, go far and win.”

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