Times Sports Editor
One year ago the Northview girls' soccer team headed down State Road 46 to take on the Edgewood Mustangs and came away with a 3-2 win on the way to an outright WIC championship.
The Edgewood Mustangs returned the favor, downing the Knights 3-2 on Northview's home field.
Coming into the match-up, coach Ahnya Alstott knew that her squad would have to control the Mustang's dynamic scoring duo of Laura Luther and Megan Hardesty. The pair had combined for 36 goals and 83 points this season to lead Edgewood's offense.
Edgewood got on the board first in the game, but it didn't come off the foot of either Luther or Hardesty, but came via on own goal on the Knights.
Megan Hardesty broke free and shot across the goal mouth as a teammate came racing in from the corner, but the Knights' Raven Enders was able to get a foot on the ball. Unfortunately she wasn't able to control it and it rolled just across the line for a 1-0 deficit.
Alstott knew from there that the game was going to be wide open.
"It was a breakaway kind of game," Alstott said. "Whoever had the best breakaways won the game. That first goal was heartbreaking, an own goal, but it's okay, our girls stayed positive."
Fortunately, the Knights have their own high scoring duo in Carlee Bell and Lauren Webster and the two combined to get Northview on the board less than five minutes later.
Three minutes later the same combination gave Northview a lead as Webster led Bell past the defense for a score at the 25:15 mark.
Hardesty and Luther gave the Knights a tough combination to defend as Hardesty's size and speed coupled with Luther's speed made the Mustangs tough to corral.
"When we beat them it was usually by double-team defense and there were some really good defensive plays that I saw where our girls shifted the way they are supposed to," Alstott said. "Considering how young our defense is, we don't have any seniors on defense, I was excited to see them maturing in that way. "
Edgewood was able to add the tying goal with 20:06 remaining in the half as Hardesty dribbled her way through the Northview defense and fired a shot off that was saved by Shalee Hathaway. However, she couldn't keep the ball tied up and as it rolled free, Luther was there to poke the shot home for a 2-all tie at halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Knights were searching for a defensive stand after having had problems during the season keeping an opponent off the scoreboard early after the break.
Northview got just that as the defense rose to the occasion to keep the game knotted at two.
"We kept a high intensity throughout the game, which is what I asked of them," Alstott said. "We corrected the 10-minute lapse after halftime, (Edgewood) didn't score in the first 10 minutes so I was pretty proud of them."
Alli Thomas had the task of marking up against the Mustangs offensive threats and did an admirable job in the duty.
"We gave Alli Thomas a tough job, marking No. 11 (Laura Luther)," Alstott said. "She seemed to hold her own pretty well for not really being one of the people that we usually have mark. So I was really proud of her too."
Despite the Knights' efforts on the defensive end, the Mustangs kept up the pressure and it paid off at the 22:42 mark as a crossing shot in front of the goal escaped Hathaway and Ali Siniard was in the right place to redirect the shot in for a 3-2 Mustang lead.
The Knights didn't hang their heads after the tie-breaking score, pressing Edgewood in its zone as Gwen Snow, Stearley, Bell, Conrad and Jennifer Junker swarmed Gillie over the final five minutes. However, Edgewood was able to keep the ball out of the net to escape with the win.
"Shalee did a great job in goal and Lauren Webster had a really good game," Alstott said. "She went to the ball, got 50-50's and had some great steals. Lindsay Woodcox played well, playing midfield and defense. Gwen Snow had a good game at midfield."
The loss drops the Knights to 2-6 overall and 1-2 in the WIC with a home boy/girl doubleheader against Brown County on Saturday.