Mavs Stung by Yellow Jackets

     Mauldin hosted the AAAA top-ranked Yellow Jackets on a brisk evening for Senior Night.  With all ten Seniors getting the start, the Mavs looked to tarnish Hanna’s record.  After the kickoff Hanna surprised the Mavs with a very long throw over everyone’s heads.  A Jacket striker tried to chip the keeper but Caitland Considine leapt high to make the save.  Mauldin worked the ball out of the back and through midfield, but Hanna was content to kick the ball as far as they could.  With a little over three minutes played a Hanna player crossed from the goal line and a Mav tried to head the ball clear.  Instead it popped up to the penalty spot where an unmarked Jacket volleyed it into the left side of goal to open the scoring.  The Mavs regrouped and went straight on the attack.  Lauren Young collected a pass near midfield and played a diagonal ball through the Hanna defense.  Maggie pushed the ball into the box but had her shot blocked for a corner.  Moments later Ragan Hill spun from a throw in and fired a quick shot that was saved at the near post.  Hanna worked the ball upfield and got a throw in on the bench side.  The Mav defense backed up for the long throw but Hanna played it short.  From the touch line a Yellow Jacket crossed the ball toward goal but over hit it and it sailed over the unsuspecting defense and keeper to put Hanna up two in the seventh minute.  The teams spent the next twenty minutes with Mauldin working forward, losing possession on an errant pass, and Hanna counter attacking.  The teams exchanged free kicks near midfield and Mauldin earned a couple corners, but neither team threatened goal.  With ten minutes left in the first half, the Mavs began to gain some momentum.  Emily Praktish collected a clearance out of the back and played quickly to Lauren Young.  Lauren spotted Sarah Tuggle running through the middle and slotted the ball through to her.  Sarah dribbled the ball to the six before firing her shot into the keeper.  A minute later, Gina Cardenas dribbled out of the back and played Emily long down the left where she earned a corner.  For the last five minutes of the half the Mavs applied good pressure on attack keeping the ball within thirty yards of the goal the entire time and causing some chaos in the Jacket’s box.

     After the Seniors’ Recognition Ceremony and a brief chat by coach, the Mavs set to work.  The Mavs quickly pushed the ball into the offensive third and looked for a way through the packed-in defense.  Ragan got off a good shot that was spilled by the keeper but the Mavs could not convert the rebounds.  Mauldin did an excellent job of shutting down Hanna in the Mavs’s end of the field and had a relatively easy time of working the ball out of the back, through the middle of the pitch and into the final third.  Haley Dunham came close to getting one back in the sixty-first minute when she put her laces through a back pass by Tera Dolan and sent it screaming just wide of goal.  Hanna packed in and often had ten behind the ball, relying on pass interceptions, blocks and crowding Mauldin off the ball.  They tried to counter attack but the Mav middies and backs had little trouble thwarting the Jackets.  The Mavs began creating more confusion in the final third and came close again after Emily worked hard to the endline, then back out.  She sent a beautiful cross diagonally through the Hanna back four to the far post.  Lauren stretched to finish but could not get a boot to the ball.  With ten minutes left, the Mavs again had the ball in the box with multiple shots, but still could not get past the flailing boots.  Hanna was only able to carry the ball into the Mauldin end once on a fast break, but Gina raced back and made an excellent tackle.  The Mavs pushed the ball back to the other end and Hayley played a good ball between defenders to find Sarah at the top of the box.  As she swung her leg for the shot, a hustling Jacket blocked the ball off her foot.  The Mavs kept trying to the final whistle but despite not allowing a shot on goal the second half, they were unable to finish their chances to get back into the match.