Mavs Stumble Against Riverside

     Storms rolling by to the east chased the teams in and out of the locker room and delayed the start of the match.  Despite the delay, the Mavericks came to play and showed their desire from the start.  Mauldin was quicker on and off the ball, challenging every touch and pass, and applying immediate and persistent pressure.  However, in the seventh minute Riverside showed why they are dangerous.  From a throw at midfield, they flicked the ball past a drawn up and flat back line leaving a lone Warrior a shot from about fifteen out.  The keeper looked to have it covered but misjudged the short hop and spilled the ball into goal.  Mauldin did not take long to put it behind them and quickly earned a free kick that Emily Praktish almost turned into the net.  Riverside in turn earned a free kick and the shot threatened the top left corner but Caitland Considine had it covered.  The two teams settled into their tug of war with Mauldin patiently keeping the ball on the floor and building through short passes while Riverside tried playing long balls over the midfield instead of through it.  As the half wore on, Mauldin gained momentum.  Kathy Jones was solid in central defense with Tera Dolan and Gina Cardenas taking turns coming out of the back to help Sarah Tuggle control the center of the park.  Emily hustled all night from box to box and kept Ragan Hill and Haley Dunham linked in at the top.  The hard work was rewarded with four minutes left as Maggie Cowley intercepted a pass and touched quickly to Sarah.  Her first touch through the defense found Ragan on a well-timed run.  Ragan pushed into the box, firing from ten yards past an onrushing keeper to equalize.  Mauldin looked eagerly for a second with Brianna Knapp and Sarah causing more panic in the penalty area and Gina weaving a shot through a dozen legs to force a good save to close the half.

     It took a few minutes for Mauldin to establish themselves but they were soon creating chances near the Warrior goal.  Ragan and Emily were dangerous down the left and Sarah nearly found Maggie in front of goal.  Tera added to the pressure in the Riverside area and the Warrior keeper had to come out strong to take the ball off Ragan’s foot.  Emily made a good run through several defenders before a good block stopped her shot.  Haley found space on the left, beat her mark and found Tera in front of goal but the Riverside defense collapsed around her.  For thirty minutes it was all Mauldin but with ten left to play Riverside got their break.  A fifty-fifty challenge in the box popped in front of a Warrior and she slid the ball inside to a player who had stayed even with the ball and onside.  She took a touch to settle and fired across goal to put Riverside ahead.  The Mavs worked hard to find an equalizer and Emily and Tera both had good shots from outside the box.  Mauldin applied constant pressure on the final third but just could not find the final touch needed.  The girls played hard and competed well the entire match but came up short on the night.