Mavs Comeback against Wren in OT 3-2

     The Mavs hosted a Wren squad that brought an impressive record and strong desire to Mauldin Stadium.  It was Mauldin who started the brightest and tallied the game’s opener in the fourth minute.  Gina Cardenas collected a ball at the top of the center circle and laid it off to Lauren Young on the left.  Lauren dribbled to the corner of the area before lacing a low cross through the box and behind the back line.  Emily Praktish raced in, slid and tucked the ball neatly under the keeper.  Wren did not stay stunned for long and within a minute fired a long shot that struck the left post and rebounded dangerously across the goal.  As the game settled down, Wren seemed to have a quicker step to the ball and worked hard to get their speedy left wing free with the ball.  Their pressure earned a corner in the twelfth minute and the looping delivery found an unmarked Hurricane at the back post for the equalizer.  As the two teams worked to establish control, Wren looked the more positive by stepping into passing lanes, pressuring traps and running well off the ball.  Mauldin’s defense gradually got organized and minimized the challenges on goal, however the Mavs’s offense struggled.  The attacks were limited to a couple runs by Haley Dunham, a good low shot by Kathy Jones through the defense and a corner to close the half.

     Mauldin came out well in the second half and threatened early but it was Wren who took their turn at a quick tally.  The Mavs surrendered a free kick at the left corner of the area.  The Hurricane sent a hard flat kick behind the defense that caught the Mavs flat footed and struck the far side netting.  Having forfeited their lead and now trailing by one, Mauldin faced an opportunity to show if they have what it takes to win.  The girls took a deep breath and went to work.  Gina took a free kick from midfield and Lauren headed it right of goal.  Lauren turned provider when she hustled into the corner and crossed to the goal mouth where the keeper took the ball off Maggie Cowley’s head.  The Mavericks continued to play quick and composed, combining short passes with diagonal runs to add the needed creative spark.  The Hurricanes broke the momentum briefly with a few counter attacks but Amanda Martin cleanly took care of things on the right.  Sarah Tuggle showed her range coming back to help Tera Dolan put out a small fire.  The Mavs were quick to reestablish their control and put pressure back on the Wren defense and keeper.  Sarah almost bent one into the top corner.  Lauren almost shoved the keeper’s poor clearance back into her face.  Maggie almost tucked a ball between the goalie’s feet.  Emily almost snuck a ball in at the near post.  Almost.  Sarah spun in the left corner and forced a block at the post.  Maggie sent her corner in and forced a block in the center.  Sarah spun in the right corner and forced a great block at the upper 90.  This one earned a corner kick and Emily played it quick and short to Sarah.  This time she turned and sent her cross to the middle of goal.  Lauren was waiting and headed home the equalizer with three minutes to play.  The Mavs could feel it and threw everything behind the ball.  In the last two minutes Emily sent a great ball to the middle of goal - Amanda hustled forward and sent a low shot through the box - Sarah forced a great point blank save – Tori just missed the rebound – and Lauren forced a save at the whistle.  The Mavs had salvaged the draw, but could they sustain the effort?

     The Mavs looked to settle the affair early.  Sarah took the restart down the middle and found Emily at the top of the box.  The keeper came out hard to deny her.  Emily then intercepted a poor clearance and came close at the far top corner.  Lauren found Maggie running down the left, and her attempt was blocked out for a corner.  Sarah played it short to Emily and she found Gina near the spot but her first-time shot was smothered by the keeper.  Tera knocked the punt down and Tori deflected it upfield.  Lauren spotted Emily breaking behind the defense and flicked the ball over the backs.  Emily settled with her first touch and then fired low under the sprawling keeper to put the Mavericks back out in front.  The girls finished the first overtime and began the second strong, maintaining most of the possession.  Wren challenged early but Amanda snuffed the counterattack with a well timed tackle.  Seconds later it took a perfect glancing header by Sandra Siatkowski to keep the ball off an attacker at the far post.  The Mavs resumed control and killed off the last minutes of the last period to secure the exciting extra time win.