Bulls meet bounce-back chal­lenge head on

Saun­ders’ of­fense helps Here­ford get back on track with vic­tory over Lions

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Glenn Gra­ham glenn.gra­ham@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Glen­nGra­hamSun

Com­ing off con­sec­u­tive shutout losses, the Here­ford girls soc­cer team was look­ing for any way to put the ball in the net as it tried to bounce back at Du­laney on Fri­day. The No. 9 Bulls took a di­rect ap­proach. Play­ing on the Lions’ bumpy, nat­u­ral­grass field, Here­ford con­stantly moved for­ward, able to find enough seams in the home team’s de­fense to pull out a 3-2 win in Bal­ti­more County play.

Se­nior Rachel Saun­ders scored twice – in­clud­ing the game win­ner with 23:42 to play – for the Bulls (10-2).

Du­laney (6-5) got goals from Anna Dim­i­tri­ades and Sara Pae­tow.

Af­ter scor­ing 59 goals in win­ning their first nine games, the Bulls fell to Bal­ti­more County foes Perry Hall (2-0 on Oct. 5) and Tow­son (1-0 on Wed­nes­day) to hit an un­timely spell that will keep them from de­fend­ing their Bal­ti­more County ti­tle. Saun­ders, who has three goals and six as­sists this sea­son, was happy to pro­vide the of­fense for the team to get back on track.

“It felt good be­cause it felt like we were in [a drought] against Perry Hall and Tow­son, so get­ting three on the board was a big im­prove­ment and like get­ting back to where we were,” she said. Du­laney didn’t make it easy. The Lions started strong and were re­warded when Dim­i­tri­ades put away a re­bound on her own shot – orig­i­nally tak­ing a feed from Sammy White – to go up 1-0 in the game’s 11th minute.

Set­tling in af­ter be­ing scored upon, the Bulls an­swered. All-Metro sopho­more Pay­ton Pa­trick made a strong run with the ball down the left side, win­ning the end line be­fore send­ing a pass across for Shan­non Fran­cis to knock in to tie the game with 22:05 left in the half.

The Bulls took their first lead two min­utes later when Lily Robert­son sent an ideal through ball to Saun­ders, who scored from 12 yards.

Tied at 2 af­ter Pae­tow’s goal early in the sec­ond half, Saun­ders made the dif­fer­ence with help from an­other run and ser­vice sent in by Pa­trick.

“We had to make some ad­just­ments and try not to be too cute with the ball and just go right at them. So we played a lit­tle more di­rect, and a lit­tle ugly, but it’s what­ever it takes to get the ball in the goal,” Here­ford coach Brad Du­vall said.

“Rachel worked all [Thurs­day] on get­ting for­ward to the ball when it was headed that way – an­tic­i­pat­ing -- and she did a great job of re­act­ing and get­ting her­self into the fi­nal third while the balls were be­ing served.”

For a sec­ond straight game, the Lions took early leads and showed they could stay with a qual­ity op­po­nent – they fell to Perry Hall, 2-1, on Wed­nes­day – but couldn’t close out a win.

Coach Mau­rice Boy­lan said his Lions must be bet­ter with their fi­nal pass at the of­fen­sive end and keep­ing op­po­nents marked bet­ter at the other end.

He was im­pressed with his team’s en­ergy on Fri­day and is con­fi­dent the mis­takes can be cor­rected in time for the play­offs.

“We don’t think there’s any­body in [Class] 4A — as I look at it — that we can’t com­pete with,” he said. “If we can com­pete with Perry Hall and Here­ford – they’re two big dogs, right? – so we just feel we can com­pete with any­body and we need to stop mak­ing mis­takes and start do­ing all the lit­tle things that add up to goals.”

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