The Pioneers down Franklin with three goals in the second half

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Mary Horton lets loose with a shot during last weeks 3-2 win over Franklin. Sandy sophomore Haley Kern came within a few feet of netting a first-half goal against Franklin on Tuesday – three different times. Kern twice had kicks slice just outside the right post while another strike rattled the crossbar.

Kern was far from discouraged by the misses and she came out with even more aggressiveness in the second half. She continued to drill shots at the goal and found the back of the net twice to lead the Sandy girls’ soccer team to a 3-2 win over the visiting Quakers.

“She struck the ball really well,” Sandy coach Justin Luebbert said. “Haley definitely has a good shot and that’s what she is known for.”

Kern’s increased assertiveness was a product of Sandy’s offensive adjustments. In the first half, the Pioneers had to fight just to get near the goal. As a result, they trailed 1-0 at halftime. After the break, Sandy put an emphasis on possession, and it controlled the ball for close to 35 minutes in the 40-minute half.

“In the first half, we were trying to play too direct. We were kicking it through so their keeper was just kicking it back to us,” Luebbert said. “We started playing the ball back and playing wide in the second half, and that really helped us.”

Sandy’s game plan created more scoring opportunities, and it didn’t take more than a few minutes for those chances to turn into goals. Just four minutes into the second half, Sandy pushed the ball up the field and got it to junior Lexie Moss just in front of Franklin goalkeeper Ella Fredricks. With a few steps and a swing of the leg, Moss was behind Fredricks and she popped it in to even the score.

About 90 seconds after the goal by Moss, Kern received the ball on the left side, 20 yards from the goal. No Quakers were close, so Kern fired a bullet that stayed inside the right post, out of reach of a diving Fredricks.

Kern’s go-ahead goal held up beyond the mid-way point of the second half, but Franklin tied the match at 2-2 with 18:38 left on a breakaway goal by Esmeralda Hernandez.

Five minutes later, Kern ripped back the lead for the Pioneers. Sandy steadily willed the ball forward and Kern kicked it by two defenders. Fredricks made a nice save, but when Franklin tried to clear the ball, it went right back to Kern who let another shot fly. This time, it bounced off Fredricks’ fingers and caught the net for the score.

Kern’s second go-ahead goal of the match wound up being the winner as the Pioneers kept the Quakers comfortably away from the net for the final 13 minutes.

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