Lady Mavs Put a Pair Past the Patriots 2-0

     Mauldin played their sixth game in seven days hosting the Patriots from J.L. Mann.  The Mavs started briskly, earning their first corner kick fifteen seconds into the match and forcing a brave punch save from the keeper.  As the game settled down, it was apparent who had the most miles on their legs this week.  Mann seemed to have a little more energy, were a bit quicker to the ball, and more accurate with their passes.  The Lady Mavs had to work a little harder to get the ball through, take an extra touch or two to settle and chase the play more.  For their extra effort, the Mavericks matched up well with Mann.  The defense was sound and did well, keeping the Patriots at bay and out of the penalty area.  After one good stand the Mavs launched a counter attack that almost opened the scoring.  Gina Cardenas intercepted a ball at the top of the arc and carried it into Mann’s half before handing it off to Ragan Hill.  Ragan drew the central defenders out before playing the ball right to Lauren Young.  Lauren’s shot from the edge of the area had the keeper beat but agonizingly went inches wide of the far post.  Mann then launched a counter of their own with a very long throw from midfield that sailed behind the defense.  Amanda Martin came across to clear the danger but her kick deflected off Kathy Jones and into the path of a charging Patriot.  Kathy blocked the shot and the ball flew high.  Caitland Considine had to call on her rebounding skills to tip the ball to herself.  The Mavs kept scrapping, kept hustling, kept grinding it out trying to find an opportunity.  With seven left in the half, the Mavs earned a throw in deep on the left side.  Maggie Cowley threw to Sarah Tuggle, sandwiched between three Patriots.  Sarah spun and nutmegged her way past.  As two more defenders closed in on her, she toe-poked the ball out to Lauren on the six yard box.  Lauren used her only touch to put the ball high into the right side of goal and the Mavs in front.  Minutes later Emily Praktish broke down the left side and tried to slip the ball between the keeper’s feet but she recovered enough to block the shot.  The Mavericks killed off the half keeping the ball securely in Patriot territory.

     The Mavs began the second much as they had the first by moving the ball straight to the Patriots’ box.  Lauren and Ragan both called the keeper to task with good, quick shots.  Mauldin looked to have a better grasp on the match with better vision of the field and a good idea of where to play.  They maintained their work rate, hustling to all the loose balls and challenging well, but the quality of the final touch was off.  Emily and Sarah earned a corner and Sarah’s service was headed across goal by Emily where Gina volleyed from six yards.  The keeper made an excellent save and had help off the line by a defender but the ball only made it back to the six.  Lauren tried to react with a volley but it cleared the crossbar.  The Mavs turned the goal kick into another attack and corner.  Lauren headed the delivery a mile in the air.  As it fell near the left post, Gina and the keeper leapt with everything they had to get the all-important touch.  When the dust settled, the keeper and ball were in the goal and Mauldin had doubled its lead.  Moments later they almost added a third when Sarah found Lauren moving to the center. Lauren played diagonally to Maggie running into the box and her shot forced a fantastic save at full extension.  Mann looked for a way back into the match but the Mauldin defense stayed organized and snuffed out any threat to goal. Mauldin continued to generate opportunities as Lauren collected near midfield and attacked space vacated by retreating Patriots.  Tori Pilgrim joined her on the right and played Lauren’s pass immediately back to the top of the box.  Sarah ran on for a shot and then was bowled over from behind; but no call came.  Several minutes later Ragan had a break on goal and it took the keeper and a defender to tackle her off the ball.  Gina had another chance in front from a freekick but could not get solid contact from a very difficult angle.  Ragan earned a penalty on a run through the left side of the area but the keeper made an excellent diving save on Sarah’s attempt.  The defense stayed strong and with the help of the midfielders, Caitland only needed one save of any quality to get her shutout.  On weary legs Mauldin turned in a gritty performance and did a great job of grinding out another valuable Region win.