Mavs Conquer the Knights 4-0

     Mauldin squared off against the Knights of Oakwood Prep in the opening match of the 2012 Mauldin Cup.  The Mavs made their intentions clear twice in the first minute.  Emily Praktish took the initial kickoff down the right side and fired a good shot low to the near post.  She won the ball again on the right and blew by her defender before crossing to the spot where Maggie Cowley was crowded off the ball.  The Mavs spent the next twenty minutes ramming the ball through the heart of the Knights’ defense getting off sixteen shots by seven different players.  Oakbrook used a very aggressive offside trap to catch the Mavs six times in that same period.  The Mauldin attack was relentless and only broken by an occasional spirited run by one of the Knight midfielders.  Gina matched her stride for stride, eventually ending the run with a strong tackle at the endline.  Oakbrook’s back-to-back corners forced clearing punches from Caitland Considine and a big kick to end the threat and start the counter attack.  Emily collected the ball and pushed forward before sending it through to Haley Dunham streaking down the center.  The keeper came out strong but her clearance only made it to midfield and Lauren Young.  Lauren and Emily connected a pair of wall passes together with the last setting Emily free on goal at the arc.  After a touch to settle, she calmly slotted the ball into the lower left corner to open the scoring.  The Mavs generated a few more attacks before Oakbrook earned a free kick.  Tera Dolan intercepted and knocked the kick up to Emily who turned and dribbled to midfield.  As Sarah Tuggle ran through the offside trap, Emily played a diagonal through the flat defense.  Sarah carried the ball and tried to chip the charging keeper at the top of the arc.  The keeper knocked the ball down but Sarah was first to the ball and placed her second effort in the back of the net.  Mauldin’s sustained possession allowed the defense to play higher, shorten the field and prevent any attack beyond midfield, while endlessly reloading the attack.

     The Mavericks started the second half as brightly as they had come off.  Cameron Clary picked a ball out of a crowd and started the Mavs’ first attack with a neat touch to Brianna Knapp.  Brianna turned and fed Madison Scott running the left touchline.  Madison took the ball to the corner of the box before sending a low shot to the near post.  Gina started a similar attack down the right, sending Hayley Dunham free toward the box where she forced the keeper to come out quick to intercept her cross.  Tera, Amanda Basabe and Sarah Kate Phillips joined in as each had solid shots on goal from the top of the box.  The Knights continued to run an aggressive trap but the Mavs repeatedly beat it with well-timed runs and a mix of balls dropped in behind the defense and diagonals sent through.  Amanda collected a loose ball and played it forward to Tera who sent one of those diagonal passes through to Sarah Kate.  Sarah’s first-time shot was deflected by the keeper but Madison sprinted to the left post to knock it home and put the game out of reach.  The Mavs also enjoyed some success with pacey, direct runs at the backs.  Tera and Meghan Meek combined out of the back before Meghan slid the ball forward to Sarah Kate running the right touchline.  She sprinted with the ball past two defenders before curling her shot to the near post.  Meghan used her speed and deft touch down the right side to cut the ball back across goal before sending a screamer just past the far post.  Hayley’s hustle in the middle won her a ball which she drove to the endline before laying the ball back to Amanda.  Amanda’s long range blast barely cleared the crossbar.  Oakbrook looked for ways back into the match and did manage a counter down the middle but Julianna Traurig rode the attacker off the ball.  Meghan again showed her pace and skill, digging a ball out of the corner and working past a back to force an excellent save from her curling ball to the far post.  The final strike was only moments behind as Tori Pilgrim collected a loose ball and found Haley on the left wing.  Haley played the ball square along the top of the box to Sarah Kate.  Widget lifted the ball with her first touch and volleyed a high arcing shot over the keeper to net the Maverick’s final tally.  Oakbrook refused to go quietly and from the restart they tested Caitland with a long shot to the top left corner.  Amanda Martin kept the Knights at bay with strong challenges and solid clearances.  Sarah Kate almost got a second after a great move by Meghan and a good pass from Tori put Widget through.  Her shot beat the sprawling keeper but missed inches right.  Kathy Jones came on late and generated several good chances but was denied by an aggressive keeper.  With a few final passes the ref called fulltime and the Mavericks had an impressive and entertaining win to open their tournament.