Weekly Feature

2018-09-19 / Sports

Lady Spartans post win, tie at home

The Williamsville North varsity girls soccer team continued their busy ways with a 1-0 home win over Lancaster on Wednesday and a 1-1 tie at home against Orchard Park on Friday.

The Lancaster game turned out to be a very exciting contest for both teams and their fans as the outcome was left in doubt until the clock wound down to zero at the end of 80 hard-fought minutes.

“Both teams left everything on the field in an exciting ending,” North coach Doug Kircher said.

The game started with North taking an early control, only to have Lancaster quickly counter and receive a semi breakaway that the goalkeeper had to make a great extended save, followed by a clear of the rebound by defender Jada Ghee, before the visitors could shoot into an open goal.

Play went up and down the field with good passing and movement, and hard fought 50-50 balls at stake many times in the midfield. The Lady Spartans gained an edge in possessing the ball and kept it in Lancaster’s end numerous times that resulted in some good scoring chances and corner kicks.

Some key shots were recorded by forwards Ali Maczka, Lianna VanSice, Melanie Krysiak, and a near miss by Candice Kasahara on an indirect shot.

Midway through the half, Lancaster won a ball at midfield and quickly countered on a through ball behind the Lady Spartan defense, which resulted in a breakaway that goalkeeper Brittany Paplham came diving out only to have the Lancaster forward push the ball around her and finish into the goal at a sharp angle for the 1-0 advantage.

The second half saw the Lady Spartans increase their abilities to get forward and apply heavy pressure in the Lancaster defensive end and look for the tying goal. Kircher said the midfield play of Haley Sliwa, Gabby Ciambella, Jessica Piotte and Lauren O’Connell kept winning balls and getting into the attack, while halfbacks Erin Brady, Stephanie Sheppard, Emily Maczka, Izzy Ciambella and Kayla Bailey kept attacking from the outside and sending in crosses in front of the goal that resulted in multiple corner kicks and near misses by the Lady Spartans.

As North kept up the pressure, the Lady Spartans were awarded a free kick from 40 yards straight out in the Lancaster end. Kasahara took the free kick and sent the ball over the Lancaster defense in front of the goal and VanSice timed her run perfectly as she met the ball and headed it past the charging Lancaster goalkeeper to tie the game at 1-1 with only 17 minutes to play in regulation.

As the action continued, both teams were able to get up and down the field looking for the go-ahead goal as time continued to wind down.

Finally, with a little over four minutes to go, North took to the attack deep in Lancaster’s end where a foul occurred that resulted in a free kick for North from about 25 yards out.

Kasahara stepped up and took the free kick and blasted a hard shot just below the crossbar and inside the near post that found the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.

As time continued to wind down, Lancaster took to the attack looking for the tying goal, but the defense of Jenna Sylvester, Ghee, Bailey, Lauren O’Connell, Kasahara and Paplham were able to hold off the visitors for the exciting victory.

The Orchard Park game started with the ball moving up and down the field with some early looks for both teams before OP began to take the edge in possessing the ball and kept it in the North defensive end as the Lady Spartans appeared to be a step behind their opponent.

The North defense and Paplham limited the OP attack as they cleared the ball before any shots were near the goal, but the pressure from their attack resulted in a corner kick midway through the half that resulted in a goal.

North dug down and prevented any further scoring and slowly began to mount an attack in the offensive end that turned into a couple of corner kicks and shots from Gabby Ciambella, Ally and Emily Maczka, along with Sheppard and VanSice, but were denied by the OP defense and goalie as the half ended.

After the break, North came out more inspired and with some urgency as they took control of the play and were looking for the tying goal as they worked to keep possession of the ball as much as possible and keep it away from OP and their quick counter attacks.

The Lady Spartan offense began to come alive and threw some quality shots at the OP goal but were turned away each time, as time was starting to run out on the home team and their efforts.

With about 12 minutes to go, North was finally rewarded for its perseverance. The ball was won by the midfield and sent up quickly to Van- Sice on the right side. She dribbled, got a step around her defender, headed toward the goal and was restricted at shooting the ball in the goal box, resulting in a penalty kick for North.

VanSice stepped up to take the kick and she finished her attempt cleanly to tie the score at 1-1.

Both teams had a few chances to break the tie in regulation and the overtimes, but were unable to do so as the players were quite exhausted from the tough heat and physical play of 100 minutes, Kircher said.

OP had the best chance to break the tie in the second overtime with less than 30 seconds on the clock as they were awarded a corner kick, but Paplham came up with a big save to secure the tie.

North (3-2-2, 2-1-1) traveled to Clarence on Monday, but information about the game was unavailable before The Bee went to press.

The Lady Spartans travel to West Seneca West on Thursday and host Frontier on Friday.

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