The St. Marys Area Lady Dutch soccer team overcame an early 1-0 deficit and then held off an attempted rally by the Lady Wolves to claim a 3-2 win on Thursday afternoon at the SMAHS soccer field.
"I think our team is finally finding its rhythm and people are doing their jobs in their positions," said St. Marys Area coach Johanna Schmidt.
St. Marys Area started out aggressive, taking four shots in the opening six minutes of the contest, one of which just clipped the crossbar. While the Lady Wolves did not manage as many shots as the Lady Dutch, they still made the ones they did take count and were able to take a 1-0 lead with 26:19 remaining in the half. St. Marys delayed in clearing a corner kick by Kelsey Johnson and Daria Huckabone was able to get to the ball and score on the play to put the Lady Wolves on the board.
St. Marys answered with some nice shots of their own and about 12 minutes later they were able to even the score as Kaitlyn Barackman sent a shot past Kane keeper Leslie Trask with 14:26 left until halftime. Try as they might, the Lady Dutch were unable to take over the lead during the remainder of the half, settling for the 1-1 tie as the game headed into the break.
To say St. Marys came out strong in the second half would be an understatement, as Holly Shields took charge right from the start and had the ball in the back of Kane's net within 25 seconds, giving the Lady Dutch a 2-1 lead with 39:35 remaining in the contest.
"Holly Shields has come back from injury," said Schmidt. "She missed almost half of the season and, now that she's back in, she has a lot of desire and she's scoring a lot."
About 10 minutes into the half, the Lady Wolves looked like they were set to even the score as St. Marys keeper Megan Bridges came out to clear a ball, but missed on her slide. The Lady Wolves then had an empty net in front of them, but the St. Marys defense stepped up and made sure they were unable to put the ball into the net.
After St. Marys cleared the Kane threat, Shields went back to work, padding the Lady Dutch's lead with another goal to give the team a 3-1 advantage with 28:55 remaining.
Kane had a few nice shots throughout the remainder of the half, but St. Marys was able to preserve their advantage until there were just over six minutes remaining in the match. Kane's Kelsey Johnson put on a strong performance, taking the ball to the net and getting a shot around Bridges to cut St. Marys' lead to 3-2.
The Lady Dutch were able to prevent the Lady Wolves from tying the game, and tried to increase their own lead several times throughout the course of the remaining minutes, eventually coming away with the 3-2 win.
"We were able to get a lot of the younger girls in today, which is a benefit for the program," said Schmidt. "I think that this win was important for us to bring us to currently .500 at 6-6. We're looking forward to next week. We have four games in one week, so it'll be a challenge, but everybody did well today."
The Lady Dutch will be back in action on Monday as they host Redbank Valley at 4 p.m. in a "pink game."