Lady Mavs Handle Hillcrest 3-1

     Hillcrest travelled to Mauldin with the number one player in the state for a match that looked fairly even on paper.  The Mavericks thought otherwise.  From the first whistle the Mavs came out determined to show their class.  The girls quickly established their control and possession tactics and pushed the ball deep into Ram territory.  Mauldin opened the scoring in the sixth minute from their first corner kick when Gina Cardenas slid to the near post and deftly tucked a header into the top corner from Sarah Tuggle’s service.  Mauldin maintained their pressure with Tera Dolan playing up from her central defender position, the midfielders swarming for every loose ball, and everyone challenging the Rams on every touch.  The pressure created chances and Maggie Cowley came close when she ran on to a deflection and fired a curving first touch to the right post.  Emily Praktish worked hard from line to line pushing the ball deep and slipping crosses past a retreating defense.  An excellent save barely kept one of her services off of Tori Pilgrims’ boot.  Emily dug another ball off the goal line and fired a low cross to the near post where Lauren Young just missed wide.  The Mavs’ hustle and high pressure almost got their second when several girls combined to send the ball to the top of the box where Ragan Hill side volleyed over the crossbar.  The goal finally came from Lauren when she collected a loose ball and slid it to Sarah.  Sarah slipped between two defenders and dribbled to the corner of the area.  Lauren had curved her run back to the spot and Sarah delivered a perfect chip that Lauren volleyed under the sprawling keeper.  The sustained pressure from the midfield and organized defense limited the Rams to three long runs and a cross by DeVita that were easily handled.

     Miss DeVita made her mark thirty seconds into the second half.  The Mavs took the kickoff and pressed into the Ram half.  A loose ball was jumped on and sent long and behind a drawn up defense.  DeVita ran on to the ball, used a touch to settle and slid the ball in the right side of the net to halve the deficit.  Mauldin took a breath and went back to work.  They quickly earned a free kick at midfield and Sarah dropped the service behind the defense with Gina and Ragan charging, but the Ram keeper pulled the ball away by her fingertips.  Minutes later Emily made a long throw to the center of goal that Maggie tried to tuck in the right side but it went inches wide.  Hillcrest tried to pick up their play and it cut into Mauldin’s amount of possession for a while but did not result in any significant threats to goal.  The Mavericks continued to create chances.  On one free kick the Mavs had ten shots that were blocked in the box before the final effort went wide left.  The Mav defense did not face any serious threats during the match, staying very organized throughout and showing excellent cover and depth.  The Rams began to depend more on DeVita on their left but Gina and Kathy Jones continually denied her the last lethal touch.  The Mavs kept pressing their attack and Sarah almost found the corner on a long range effort.  Maggie dropped a ball to Ragan who forced a good save by the keeper.  The hard work was rewarded with two minutes left when Emily took a deep throw and found Ragan at the edge of the box.  She used a single touch to find Lauren crashing the goal and her volley caught the Ram keeper flat-footed to net her second.  She almost got a third when Emily took and pass and raced down the left before crossing to Lauren.  Her flick arced over the keeper’s fingertips only to brush the outside of the far post.  Overall it was a very good performance by the Mavs against a spirited side.