Girls soccer: Team loses 2-1 to Wilcox Chargers

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Malini Ramaiyer

When the girls soccer team faced Wilcox High School on Jan. 13, there were two things they just weren’t used to — playing without goalie senior Monica Polgar and dealing with a grass field. Out of their element, the team was determined to push through the challenge regardless.

Without the comfort of being their own turf , the Matadors started off strong, putting up a strong defense with new goalie sophomore Gabby Campbell. After the game, head coach DJ Driscoll reflected that team captain and center back senior Rachel Poulo really shined as she led the Matador defense for most of the game.

“[Poulo] brings the level up, that’s why she’s a captain,” Driscoll said. “She has the energy that’s picking up this year. I’d say she’s the player of the game.”

Senior Alissa Paterson and sophomore Emma Lam initially kept possession for the Matadors as they outran the WHS Chargers. However, matching the Matadors, the WHS defense prevented any shots. Most of the first half was left in a stalemate as both teams put up a strong defense which kept the ball in the midfield.  The few times they were able to get up to the goal, they generated weak shots at the goal.

Towards the end of the first half, Paterson dribbled the ball up to the WHS goal and assisted junior Kalpana Gopalkrishnan in scoring the Matadors’ only goal of the game. Driscoll explained that he was proud that they scored on a cross as the team had been practicing that the week before. MVHS’ lead was short-lived as the Chargers scored on a foul kick soon after to tie the match at 1-1.

We have to play quicker, faster

head coach DJ Driscoll

“For the first goal, we weren’t technically ready,” Campbell said. “I said three people to go make a wall and then only two went, and then, the ref blew the whistle and I wasn’t totally ready yet.”

With the score tied, Driscoll encouraged the team to push themselves in the second half.

“We have to play quicker, faster,” he said in the team huddle during halftime. Even though the Matadors started out strong, they tired out as the game progressed, so the WHS forwards easily beat MVHS to the ball.

“Our team’s biggest goal is to play fast, because that’s something we struggled with today,” junior Anitra Varhadkar said. “If the pressure is on you really quick, you have to get rid of it really quick.”

Both teams started the second half with one goal each, but the Chargers were quick to secure another, a loss that MVHS wouldn’t be able to make up for. A WHS forward was able make a shot that Campbell successfully blocked. When the forward went for another shot, the team tried to push up and make her offside. But, a lack of communication kept one MVHS midfielder back; thus, the WHS forward was onside and able to score the goal.

For the rest of the game, the Matadors had to play catch up and they simply could not. Despite a boost of energy in the last twenty minutes and strong play by sophomores Nanda Nayak and Mansi Reddy, their shots were too weak and defensive pressure was lacking.  Due to the wet grass field, the ball literally slipped out of the Matadors possession.

“The ball was really skippy and a lot of girls couldn’t trap the ball,” Campbell said. “[It was] just all in the air. No trapping, no possession.”

With the MVHS’ loose grip on the ball, they couldn’t muster another goal and the match ended with a score of 2-1.

“They played well, they played hard, just got to cut those mental mistakes,” Driscoll said.