After watching the University High boys soccer team end their match with Newman in a scoreless tie, the Cubs’ Kirby Miller knew she couldn’t let the girls suffer the same fate.
Both the boys and girls programs for U-High got out to a fast start, knocking a barrage of deep balls into Newman’s defensive third, but it wasn’t until Miller broke free in the sixth minute of the girls match that either school would find the net.
Her goal set the game in motion for U-High to win 2-0 in Saturday’s predistrict matchup.
“We had to come out really hard if we wanted to keep it up top,” Miller said. “We had to finish it in the first half so we could keep it going through the rest of the game. If we didn’t set the tone in the first 10 (minutes), then we wouldn’t have for the rest of the game.”
No. 2 Newman tried to respond by stepping up the defense to create an offside trap but, despite its best efforts, the U-High forwards found a way through the cracks.
In the 17th minute, U-High midfielder Kate McKowen took a cross from Mary Nader to the far post as she pushed the score to 2-0, which proved insurmountable for Newman.
The second half was more even as Newman found its traction and kept Miller and the Cubs under wraps. For the game, U-High outshot Newman 9-2.
“It wasn’t the outcome that we wanted, but I thought we played a better second half,” Newman coach Lynsey Winkler said. “It took us probably 35 minutes to really get into a groove, which is unfortunate because University is a really great team. It can’t take us that long to play our game.”
The No. 3 Cubs’ boys’ offensive attack wouldn’t fare as well against the No. 2 Greenies as their best scoring opportunity ended in a whistle just before time expired.
U-High forward Thomas Kobetz had been denied on the fast-break play all night by Newman keeper David Terral until he watched the ball bounce into the back of the net with just seconds left on the clock.
But Kobetz was called for a push on the defender while the ball was in the air, thus negating what would have been the game-winning score.
Terral, who ended the night with four saves, including several fast-break opportunities, said he was confident his defender would have gotten the ball had he not been pushed.
“With this team, I always have to be on my toes,” Terral said. Anytime the ball can just be coming into my box and I just made sure I was ready. My defenders did a good job of stopping them.”
The previous 80 minutes of the game played out similarly to the girls game, in that U-High’s aggressive, long-ball style of offense was in stark contrast to the pass-heavy tendencies of Newman.
The Greenies maintained possession for the majority of the game and outshot the Cubs 19-6, but could never find a way into the goal.
U-High coach Chris Mitchell said even though seeing his team win in the final seconds of the match would’ve been incredible, he thinks a tie was fitting for two evenly matched programs.
“I think it was kind of even — I think it deserved to be a tie,” Mitchell said. “Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve loved to win, but I think both teams are very evenly matched.”