Warren girls fall in OT to McLane for second time
EDINBORO – The Warren and General McLane girls soccer teams are both incredibly talented and well-matched.
That was on display on Saturday, as, for the second time this season, the two squads battled to a regulation tie. Unfortunately for the Lady Dragons, it was also the second time they didn’t get the game-winning goal in overtime.
The Lady Lancers were able carry they momentum of their second half come back and put in the sudden death goal just past the midway point of the first 10 minute overtime period to beat Warren, 4-3.
“Despite the outcome, the net result will be positive,” said Warren coach Jeremy Bickling. “We didn’t play a great game, but we had to deal with some stress and adversity. This game will help us moving forward.”
The Lady Dragons set the tone early by opening up their high-powered attack. After several quick attacks and attempts reeled in by the Lady Lancer goal keeper, Warren was able to net their first goal just under the seven minutes into the game. Brooklynn Neureiter won a ball in the midfield and quickly found freshman Kyra Wotorson in space between the Lady Lancer defense. Wotorson was able to hit a hard strike to the far side of the goal keeper for the score.
“Kyra comes up with the goals you don’t expect sometimes,” Bickling said. “Her shot is so quick and hard there’s no time for a defender or goal keeper to react.”
The teams battled the remaining 30-plus minutes in the first half with Warren guarding it’s 1-goal lead. Junior goal keeper Abby Arnold had her best game of the season, keeping the Lady Lancers off the board with several stops and courageous plays to collect the ball.
“Abby was brilliant,” Bickling said. “She was vocal with the defense. She made smart decisions and is playing at her highest level of the season.”
The Warren keeper was able to defuse several attacks and a corner kick attempt in the closing moments of the first half to keep her team’s 1-goal lead going into the half.
“It wasn’t our prettiest half of soccer, we made more mistakes then we have in the past few weeks,” said Bickling. “We needed to clean up our passing and make better decisions. “
General McLane started the second half much like Warren had in the first by getting an early goal to tie the score at a goal for each team. GM capitalized off of a corner kick and were able to finish off the set piece with their first goal of the match.
The Lady Dragons wasted no time trying to regain momentum and immediately attacking the General McLane goal with several shots. Wotorson battled her way clear of the defense to collect and blast in a loose ball the Lady Lancer keeper had mishandled. That goal was waved off by the officials as the goal keeper was injured in the scrum for the ball.
“I understand protecting the keeper, but she had clearly lost control of the ball,” Bickling said. “The keeper was injured attempting to save the ball we had in our possession. I’m still confused about that sequence of events and why the goal was not counted.”
Despite the emotional let down of what seemed like the go-ahead goal, the Lady Dragons made a quick attempt to rectify the situation. Mackenzie Bickling was able to take a combination pass from Kyliegh Wilson and out-muscle a defender to break clear to the goal. Bickling made her run towards the left corner of the goal but fooled the keeper by shooting into the right side of the net.
“Mack took a hard kick to the back of the leg in the first half and had to battle through some pain today,” coach Bickling said. “We needed her on the field and she fought for that goal. “
The seesaw battle continued into the second period when General McLane was able to finish off a free kick they were awarded from a Warren foul.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, Wotorson had her chance to make up for the earlier goal she had waived off. The Warren freshman was able to fire a shot past the keeper in similar fashion to her first goal.
General McLane was able to rally and respond with a goal to tie it up with just minutes left on the clock.
It had been nearly a month since the last time the two teams had played and the regulation outcome was the same as the in their first meeting ending with a tie .
“I’m glad we had this test,” coach Bickling said. “Our path through the playoffs is set for us, that’s not to say our final two games are meaningless, but a win means less then figuring out your potential weaknesses.
“We had a few players rise to the occasion today under the pressure. Abby Arnold had a fantastic game and the four goals aren’t on her; we need to do a better job of defending and possessing the ball. We’ve lost four of our five games by one goal and three in overtime. We’re not going to panic over this loss.”
The Lady Dragons play there final regular season match Tuesday at 6pm against Erie.