MHC GIRLS SOCCER - Molly Vranizan gives the Blues a quick 1-0 lead
The Barlow Bruins and St. Mary's Blues spent much of their match bouncing from one end of the pitch to the other Thursday night, as attempts to establish ball control inside the opponent's zone were quickly turned away by the defense.
But the Bruins were able to create a surge of offense behind goals from Hailee Stotts and Kayley King that came within minutes of each other and allowed the Bruins to escape with a 2-1 victory.
It was the defenses of both sides that dictated the rhythm of the game, and with constant responsibility to clear the zone, the defenses wore down in the late stages, giving way to scoring opportunities.
'I know we were tired and we tried our best and we've had better games, but we did a great job of keeping the pressure on them,' Bruins defender Sam Porter said.
Trailing by a goal, the Blues came inches away from tying the score.
A loose ball was sent into the top of the Bruins' 18-yard box with six minutes left. The defense was closing in, forcing Blues midfielder Elianna Beard to try a one-time the shot that hit the left post.
'We were getting in and getting some chances, but a lot of it was just out of knock downs and determination,' Blues head coach Rob Warnell said. 'Where in the past, we were just able to move the ball around, these guy did a really good job of eliminating our ability to move the ball around.'
Each goal scored in the game was a result of scrambles for loose balls that took fortunate bounces for the offense.
The Blues fortunate bounce came early with a ball sent into the box to a wide open Molly Vranizan, who put the Blues ahead 1-0.
'It came out of really nothing,' Warnell said. 'We got a ball in and had a decent cross, but we got it out of really nothing.'
The Bruins defense physically dominated the Blues' forwards following the goal, and as the match progressed, both teams battled viciously for possession, bringing out three yellow cards.
'For us, their pressure and their physicality kept us from getting into a rhythm, and that really kept us from generating any real offense,' Warnell said.
In a game highlighted by the defense, Stotts managed to get the better of the Blues' defense.
After receiving a pass from King at the top of the 18-yard box, Stotts faked left and went right. Off of one dribble, Stotts snared her shot into the top corner of the net, nodding the score at one. Moments later the Bruins took the lead when King was fed a ball behind the defense and scored the winner.