Mavericks Rustle Riverside 3-2

     The Lady Mavericks travelled to #1 ranked Riverside for an all too familiar battle with their upstate rivals.  The team was buoyed by the return of three from injury.  Lauren Young and Sandra Siatkowski returned to the starting lineup while Emily Praktish made her season debut from the sidelines.  The Mavs began well, enjoying good periods of possession and working the ball well into Warrior territory.  The narrow pitch congested the center and made it tough for the Mavs to develop their wing play.  Riverside had the first serious threat when they played a ball from the left and got a weak shot off from the spot.  Caitland Considine dove to cover the corner and the ball deflected off the post.  The match then settled in to a tug of war with neither side able to find a way through.  Mauldin gradually began to keep the play focused in Riverside’s half.  After Tori Pilgrim won a corner, Sarah Tuggle’s service was sent just over the bar by Juliana Traurig.  Moments later Sarah took a throw from Haley Dunham in the area and spun toward goal.  The beaten Warrior defender stuck out a leg in desperation and brought Sarah down.  Sarah’s penalty kick beat the keeper to the right but the referee spotted an infraction and ordered a re-kick.  Sarah quickly and coolly placed her shot in the same spot and gave the Mavs the lead.  Riverside almost equalized after the restart with a long throw in.  Caitland tipped the ball at the near post and the deflection sailed across goal.  Juliana stepped in front of a poaching striker and headed the ball off the line.  Caitland raced across and collected the ball to kill the play.  Mauldin reestablished their high pressure and had several crosses blocked in the box.  Emily’s long range shot was knocked down but fell to Lauren who sent the ball from the corner of the area to the center of goal.  The keeper misplayed the bounce and dropped the ball.  Tori was on the spot and pushed the ball into the goal to double the Mavs lead.  Riverside again tried to answer and earned several deep throw ins that the Mavs defense constantly turned upfield.  One throw did cause trouble when it cleared three Mavs’ heads and struck an arm on the way down.  Caitland read the kick well and dove strong to her left but the ball just cleared her fingertips to cut the lead before half.

     Both teams came out fired up and began looking for opportunities.  Riverside had the first look when a ball skipped over and through the Mav defense.  Kathy Jones covered ground quickly, slid, and blocked a point blank shot in the center of the goal.  The Mavs quickly got theirs with long shots by Tera Dolan and a free kick by Sarah that Gina Cardenas got her head to and forced a good save.  Riverside showed their class with a long spell of pressure but Gina, Tera, Sandra, Kathy and Juliana kept their composure and weathered the storm without yielding a serious threat to goal.  The Mavs began to have more possession and almost found success.  Emily collected a throw and pushed to the goal line.  She served a soft cross to Ragan Hill who half-volleyed the ball to the near corner, forcing a shaky save.  Mauldin soon earned a throw in deep in the Warrior half.  Maggie Cowley threw to Emily who kept tight to the touchline and worked to the corner.  She glided past her defender with a step over and lifted the ball to the six yard box.  Tori was waiting and with the outside of her foot steered the ball off the inside of the right post and home for her second of the evening.  The Mavs did not let up and kept the ball in the Riverside half.  They almost got another when Emily sent a long cross to Ragan whose shot was stopped at the far post.  Emily almost had one when she knocked down a poor clearance by the keeper and then raced for the loose ball.  She and the keeper arrived at the same time but the ball bounced clear.  Not giving up, Riverside earned a free kick about 40 meters out well into injury time.  The Mavs cleared the kick but the Warriors sent it back in to the right where they hit the ball low past a surprised Mavs defense and keeper to get their second.  The Mavs killed off the rest of the extra time forcing a last save before the referee’s final whistle.  Riverside played physical and fast but a resilient Maverick side took advantage of their chances and earned a tough win at the Reservation.  The rematch on April 27th should be special.