Lady Mavs Mann-age 3-2 Win over Patriots

     Travelling to JL Mann, the Mavericks knew the night would ask a lot of this team.  Forty-five seconds into it, the questions got tougher.  On their first possession, the Patriots brought the ball down the right side, stopped, and unchallenged, sent a looping ball to the spot where it only took a casual touch to slide the ball low into the net.  The now-wide-awake Mavs had to pick it up.  They did a good job of cutting off the deep pass and getting the ball to midfield but the third and fourth touches were more elusive.  The teams were settling into a back and forth rhythm when Gina Cardenas played a one touch to Sarah Tuggle at midfield.  Sarah turned to take on her marker and after a couple touches, played a diagonal to Maggie Cowley.  Maggie kept the ball wide until she spotted Ragan Hill slicing through the defense and crossed it low to the spot.  Ragan’s first-time shot had the onrushing keeper beat but the ball slid just wide of the left post.  The Mavs, however, had showed they were able.  When the goal kick went out the Mavs took a quick throw and were immediately fouled.  Sarah sent the free kick to the spot where Tera Dolan and Gina both put a head to the ball, driving it low across goal.  The keeper could only knock the ball down and a charging Ragan was there to slam the ball home!  On level terms again, both teams settled back into swapping corner kicks, free kicks and intercepting each other’s passes.  As the half wound down, the girls had shown they could fight back, but did they have more?

     Not sure what Coach said during the intermission, but his moves spoke volumes.  Whatever it was, it seemed to convince the girls to play as if they wanted to win.  Lauren even joined the team in the pre-kickoff huddle to make sure the plan was clear. 

     Mann seemed to start off better with all their attacks coming down the Mavs’ left.  Mauldin got stuck in, defended the corners and freekicks well and absorbed the pressure.  It took fourteen minutes till the Mavs pushed back.  Suddenly the girls stepped into the ball, closed down their opponent, put pressure on every touch, found the open target.  Mann reeled under the pressure and surrendered a deep throw in.  Maggie threw short to Sarah, who turned and slid the ball down the line to Ragan and she used her first touch to cut the ball back to Sarah.  With two touches to bring the ball across the top of the box, Sarah picked her spot and fired low and true past the diving keeper into the side netting!  With each wave of pressure, the Patriots’ play faltered.  The Mann coach continued to substitute on every possession to try and confuse the markers to no effect.  On a Mavs throw, the ball was deflected away from touch and Sarah gave chase and forced a poor trap by Mann.  After collecting the ball, Sarah dribbled in a 360 before taking off past midfield and up the left touchline before chipping the ball between the defense.  Maggie collected the ball and took it to the endline before squaring the ball across the goal.  The Patriot netminder tried to catch the dipping cross but bungled the ball.  Tera raced to make sure the ball found the back of the net!  After the restart Mann countered.  Sending a long high cross goal-ward, a Patriot volleyed the first bounce from the spot but Caitland Considine lunged to her left to snatch the ball cleanly.  Caitland’s punt was flicked on by Haley Dunham and Sarah Kate Phillips gave chase pressuring the back in to a poor pass toward goal and forcing the keeper to touch it safely over the goal line for a corner.  As Mauldin forced the play deep in the Mann end, the Patriots managed a counterattack.  The Mav defense rebuffed two direct attacks on goal but the ball fell kindly to a Patriot who fired through a crowd of Mavs that blocked Caitland’s view and snuck its way through to the far corner.  With Mann having pulled one back, Mauldin changed its tactical shape pulling Gina back and pushing Tera to midfield.  The Patriots tried to get back in the match and threw everything at the goal.  The Mavs absorbed the pressure and mounted their counterattacks.  Mann threatened the goal once with a ball that found an open Patriot just 8 meters in front of goal.  Kathy Jones and Juliana Traurig collapsed on the ball and blocked the point-blank shot.  Mann tried to sneak the corner in at the near post but Caitland punched the ball clear.  The inspired Mavs worked the ball up the field and killed off the rest of the match to earn their first road win of the season.

     Though they had surrendered an early carless goal, the Mavericks answered many of the questions asked of them this evening.  Once they decided they wanted to win the match, the girls showed they have the character to get back up and do what they need to win.