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Cats slip by Apollos 1-0

Sunset holds a big edge in shots on goal, but Westview gets the one that wins Monday's game
by: Miles Vance METRO BATTLE — Westview’s Jill Thomas (left) and Sunset’s Taylor Coon spar during the Wildcats’ 1-0 home win on Monday.

ROCK CREEK - The Westview girls soccer team has been a thorn in Sunset's side all season long, and the Wildcats couldn't be happier about it.

Westview, hosting the league-leading Apollos at Westview High School on Monday night, managed just two shots on goal in the contest, but one of those shots found the back of the net and lifted the Wildcats to a key 1-0 victory.

The win, Westview's second straight and third in four games, lifted the Wildcats' Metro League record to 5-2-2 (9-2-2 overall) and brought the team within two points of second-place Sunset with just tonight's (Thursday's) league finale - at Southridge at 7:30 p.m. - remaining in the regular season.

'It was a good win, a good win to finish on senior night,' said Westview senior defender Desiree Tyner. 'Our team worked really hard and we really wanted to get this one to start off the playoff season well.'

'I definitely feel like we're just starting to peak right now,' said senior forward Keirra Butts, who scored the match's lone goal 25 minutes into the first half. 'I think there are better things to come. We are definitely starting to pick it up now so it will be good going into the playoffs.'

For the Apollos, who tied Westview 1-1 in their other 2011 meeting, Monday's loss snapped a four-game winning streak, ended Sunset's seven-game unbeaten streak, and also knocked the Apollos out of a first-place tie with Jesuit atop the Metro standings. Sunset fell to 6-2-1 in league play and 9-2-1 overall.

'We just knew that they wanted it really badly,' said Sunset sophomore forward Emmy Owens. 'They really wanted to beat us. We just tried to stay strong and I think we did, but they got the goal.'

'They came hard early and we just couldn't get it back in time,' added freshman midfielder Alex Bibo.

Butts' goal was the main offensive highlight of the opening half, and it came 25 minutes into the game. Butts stole a Sunset pass outside of the Apollo penalty box, worked between a couple Sunset defenders, then angled toward the goal, cut across the field and scored at the far post.

'I had a couple people in front of me and I just shot it to the back post and in,' Butts said. 'We wanted more, but we're fine with the result.'

While Sunset failed to score, the Apollos certainly made it interesting in the second half. Indeed, the Apollos had two golden scoring opportunities in a four-minute span late in the contest that might have won the game or at least forced a tie, but Tyner and Westview keeper Kallina Haase were up to the challenge each time.

The first of those chances came with 15 minutes left when Owens set up teammate Elly Williamson with a pass on the left side. Williams took the ball into the Cats' penalty box and drove a hard shot toward the left post, but Haase stepped up to make a diving stop and preserve her team's one-goal edge.

Four minutes later, it was Sunset's Mary Grace Roselli on the attack. Roselli made a long run up the center of the field and split two defenders, but Haase charged out of goal and smothered Roselli's kick with 11 minutes remaining on the clock.

'We just mesh well,' Tyner said. 'Our defense contributes to the midfield and the midfield helps the forwards out. It was a full team effort.'

'We've been battling some injuries, and to be honest, we've had some chemistry issues,' Martin explained. But 'now, the nice thing was that they were playing together, they were nice and they were positive. Good things are going to happen.'

For their part, the Apollos feel confident about their ability to come back and make a long run in the state playoffs.

'Our goal is to put this game behind us, and hopefully, we'll get to play them again in the playoffs and beat them when it really counts,' Owens said.

'We just need to keep playing hard and put this game behind us,' Bibo added. 'Just keep looking forward.'

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.