Dutchtown High’s girls soccer team handled the cold conditions and slippery surface at Baton Rouge High Stadium a little better than the homestanding Bulldogs did and came away with a 2-1 victory in Division I, District 5 play on Tuesday night.
Dutchtown scored first, gave up a tying goal, then scored the eventual game-winner in the 43rd minute to avenge an earlier 3-0 loss to Baton Rouge High.
“In this game you could see our girls came out with more intensity (than the previous game), and they just wanted to play better,” Dutchtown coach Anant Vyas said. “Baton Rouge High has many skilled players, and we knew (Baton Rouge High forward) Natalie (Presedo) is tough because we have played against her for three years. Grace Miller did an exceptional job marking her and occasionally taking her out of the game.”
The game was tied 1-1 at halftime. The Griffins came back with more pressure in the second half.
“I just told them to keep up the intensity and put pressure on the goal,” Vyas said. “We played basically the same game, but with more attacking.”
Presedo was as active as usual on the offensive end, but she was often accompanied by Miller, who also got help from her defensive teammates. Presedo knotted the score at 1-1 with her team’s only goal in the 38th minute on a well-structured attack on an assist from Anna Odenwald. Her only other two quality shots went wide past the far post.
Dutchtown went ahead in the 14th minute when Hannah German found an unattended ball in the center of the box following a throw-in. She looped a floater over goalkeeper Martha Cox which went into the goal on one bounce.
Dutchtown frustrated the Bulldogs’ offense in the first half with its swarming defense, but also had its issues trying to get on the scoreboard. Madyson Bleakley missed on a short header, and Cox saved a quality shot by Lauren Bercegeay. Cox got some help from her back line teammates who kicked away shots by Bercegeay and Molly Litten when the keeper had come out of the goal.
Bleakley finished a tough first half when she and Cox collided going for a loose ball, but she came back strong in the second half. She made a strong individual move and fired a 25-yard cannon shot from the top right of the box to the upper left corner of the net seven minutes in to give the Griffins a 2-1 lead that would hold up as the final score.
“Our drive was there tonight, our motivation,” Bleakley said. “We wanted it. I’m so proud. It was awesome.”
Baton Rouge High coach Sheila Achee was upset with her team’s performance, especially on defense.
“We didn’t play the type of defense we usually do,” she said. “We didn’t play good team defense. We had times when we played really well, and in spurts we were OK, but as a group and as a whole we didn’t play well.”
Achee also felt Presedo was at a disadvantage as a marked player. The Bulldogs’ top scorer went down near the top of the box in the second half and later received a yellow card for complaining after being knocked down in a play away from the action.
“There are always going to be some calls missed, but I think because she is such a good player referees are reluctant to make calls they need to make,” Achee said.