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Berean Christian scores late to beat Panthers

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Saturday January 12, 2002

Despite being outshot 12-3 and playing most of the game in their own half, the St. Mary’s girls’ soccer team nearly managed a tie on Friday against Berean Christian, holding out until the 72nd minute of the game. 

A tired St. Mary’s midfield had trouble getting back on defense after a rare offensive surge, and Berean Christian’s Valerie Barnes scored the game’s only goal on her second breakaway in as many minutes. On the first, Barnes put her shot right at Panther goalkeeper Ashley Frazier despite a lack of any pressure. But the second, coming from a bouncing ball with St. Mary’s sweeper Brielle Plump in front of her, was the one Barnes needed. She cut back against Plump, then cut her shot back the other way to beat Frazier for the game’s only score. 

“It’s difficult at the end of a hard game for the midfield to get back consistently,” St. Mary’s coach Donny McGuire said. “We could’ve held them to a scoreless tie if we could have held up on defense.” 

Plump was a rock at the back for the Panthers (4-5, 1-2 BSAL), clearing the ball repeatedly from danger. But McGuire’s team had trouble stringing passes together, often turning the ball over quickly after winning it. Parras Vega was the only player who could control the ball in the midfield for the Panthers, but she couldn’t do it alone. 

Berean Christian, on the other hand, was satisfied with getting the ball forward and letting their attackers do the work. Barnes, Ashley Essy and Whitney Jacobsmeyer all had scoring opportunities as the game wore on, but were unable to finish them until the late goal. 

Berean Christian (9-3, 3-1) took control of the game right away, not letting the Panthers out of their own end for the first 15 minutes of the game. But St. Mary’s actually had the first good chance on their first attack, as freshman Margot Davis got behind the defense for a breakaway, but her shot hit the crossbar and rebounded back onto the field. That would be the best shot of the day for a goal for the Panthers. 

Berean Christian nearly caught a break a minute later, as some bad communication between Frazier and her defense led to Essy getting an open net. But Essy’s shot hit the far post and the game remained scoreless. 

Barnes spent most of the first half on the wing trying to set her teammates up. She hit crosses that led to shots by Essy and Jacobsmeyer, but Frazier came up with two spectacular saves. 

Vega had the Panthers’ only good chance in the second half with a near-breakaway, but Heather Oranje came sliding through to knock the ball away. 

The Panthers have good reason for looking disjointed on offense. They went through a last-minute coaching change when last season’s coach was called to military reserve duty. McGuire took over just before the team’s first game, and although he plays the same system, he comes from “a different school of soccer.” The team’s practice time has been scant, thanks to a rigorous schedule and heavy rains that have marred the school’s only field. 

“The only time we’ve had the field to ourselves for practice has been a few Saturdays,” McGuire said. “It makes it hard to get everyone comfortable with each other.”