While the boys were able to scratch out a draw to remain undefeated, the Chargers’ girls handled the Patriots with ease.
Strawberry Crest soccer headed to Freedom last Friday where the boys entered the night at 5-0, looking to remain undefeated, and the girls looked to build on a strong run that left them 2-1-2 after opening the season with back-to-back losses.
In the first contest, Crest’s boys found themselves trailing 1-0 after the first half and would need to break through if they wanted to keep their lossless streak to open the year intact.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle, with both teams looking to find some result in the tense match. While the Chargers were regularly able to ward off the Patriots’ offensive runs, they were largely unsuccessful in translating that defensive success into meaningful opportunities despite regular possession in the attacking third. But in the 74th minute Crest was able to cash in on a bit of luck and knot the contest as junior midfielder Jordan Neyman corralled possession 30 yards out and sent a relatively pedestrian chance toward Freedom’s keeper, watching as the ball rolled toward the goal and right past the netminder as he knelt to gather the shot.
With the match now tied, Crest upped the pressure in the game’s final moments and were nearly able to put themselves on top in extra time as junior Edwin Alejandro chased a ball sent deep up the right side, gathering a misplay from Freedom’s left back and sending a ball trickling past the charging keeper toward the Patriots’ net. Despite the shot rolling goalward, it was just soft enough for a Freedom center back to catch up and clear the potential threat.
As the final whistle sounded, Crest was unable to come away with the victory but clinched a nerve-wracking draw to remain undefeated on the year at 5-0-1.
In the girls’ match to follow, they immediately controlled possession in the attacking third and produced chance after chance after chance in the game’s opening minutes, only to be thwarted time and time again by Freedom’s keeper.
In the third minute, senior forward Ezra Carpenter took a run up the right side and put a shot on frame, saved by Freedom’s keeper and sent out for a corner. In the fourth minute she faced another opportunity on a through ball up the right side, saved again. In the sixth minute it was sophomore Diana Pena, bringing in a throw in and putting a shot toward goal only for yet another shot to be saved. The Chargers missed on another chance in the ninth minute and nearly converted on a free kick sent into the box by midfielder Nimisha Sankar just seconds later, narrowly failing to connect with the outstretched foot of Pena.
In the 10th minute Crest finally broke through. After Carpenter’s initial shot was saved and sent out for a corner kick, the ensuing corner was sent in and settled on the foot of Lillianna Bueno as she converted to give the Chargers a 1-0 lead. And late in the first half, Pena beat her markers for a breakaway up the middle of the field, beating the charging keeper and burying the open shot to extend the Chargers’ lead to 2-0 heading into halftime. In the second half Crest was able to begin really finishing their multitude of chances and pull away. Carpenter extended the Chargers lead to 3-0 on a penalty kick in the 33rd minute, scored her second goal in the 58th minute and added a third in the 62nd. Freshman Elidia Bueno scored on another penalty kick in the 72nd minute and Pena added her second goal of the contest in extra time to seal a 7-0 victory.
Both squads returned home on Tuesday to host Middleton, each coming away with mercy rule victories as the Boys moved to 6-0-1 with an 8-0 victory and the girls moved to 4-2-1 on a 13-0 victory. Both teams will finish the week at King High School on Friday.