Wild­cats make most of chances in first half

Fal­cons try to rally from down 3-0 but score just once on 11 sec­ond-half shots

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By James Peters

Arun­del and Sev­erna Park took turns Thurs­day dom­i­nat­ing the two 40-minute halves of an in­tense girls soc­cer match, but the re­sults of those two com­mand­ing per­for­mances were starkly dif­fer­ent, lead­ing to a 3-1 vic­tory for the host Wild­cats.

While No. 11 Arun­del (5-3-1) cap­i­tal­ized on two early scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and three over­all on six shots in the first half, the Fal­cons (3-4-3) scored only once on 11 sec­ond-half shots.

“They took ad­van­tage of their chances in the first half [and] we didn’t play our game in the first half,” Sev­erna Park coach Brian Mor­gan said. “We started string­ing to­gether our passes in the sec­ond half, but hats off to them. They fin­ished it off strong.”

Tier­ney Cre­han set up the first goal with a near miss off the right post that was cleaned up by Kelsi Ross, who lofted a shot over Sev­erna Park goal­keeper Jes­sica Wieber and into the left cor­ner of the goal, roughly three min­utes into the game. Cre­han scored a lit­tle more than two min­utes later, pok­ing in an open at­tempt off a pass from Tessa Ren­d­ina for a 2-0 ad­van­tage.

“I was pumped up,” Cre­han said. The early lead “helped us a lot. It’s a pretty big Arun­del’s Kelsi Ross, right, moves in to take the ball from Sev­erna Park’s Sarah Gellert. Ross scored the first goal roughly three min­utes into Thurs­day’s game. win be­cause last year we tied, so I’m pretty glad that we won.”

The Wild­cats pushed their ad­van­tage to 3-0 with about seven min­utes re­main­ing be­fore half­time on a goal by Ren­d­ina. She re­ceived a pass from Daniela Cabral from 15-plus yards out, turned against min­i­mal pres­sure and shot a low line drive into the right cor­ner.

“I told them the way they played in the first half, there’s not a team in the state that could beat that team,” Arun­del coach Lau­ren Coe said. “That’s how they played against [No. 2] Broad­neck the en­tire time and we took them into dou­ble over­time. These girls, when their heads are on, which is most of the time, they’re un­stop­pable.

“We had three wide-open op­por­tu­ni­ties [in a 1-0 loss to Ch­e­sa­peake-AA] we didn’t fin­ish, so all we worked on [in prac­tice] was fin­ish­ing and over­lap­ping ... and they came out in the first half and just com­pletely nailed it.”

When the game re­sumed, how­ever, it was Sev­erna Park that was the ag­gres­sor, re­sult­ing in several qual­ity chances. Un­like their op­po­nent, the Fal­cons did not find the back of the net un­til Jenna Far­rell scored off a a 50-yard free kick from cap­tain Sarah Gellert with roughly two min­utes left in the game.

“We didn’t come out as fired up as we should have in the sec­ond half,” Cre­han said.

Many of those chances were turned away by Arun­del goal­keeper Sab­rina Do­herty (11 saves) while oth­ers sailed just over or wide of the goal, in­clud­ing a point-blank chip that floated through the foot­ball up­rights and an­other close-range op­por­tu­nity that hit the up­right’s cross­bar.

“There were some good mo­ments; it’s some­thing we’re work­ing on,” Mor­gan said.

MATTHEW COLE/BAL­TI­MORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP

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