On Tuesday afternoon, the girls soccer team lost in their first game of league play to the Hillsdale Knights. Before this game, M-A started 2-5 in non-league play, falling behind from their CCS run to the open division finals last year, and a 16-2-5 finish.
The Knights started the game off with an onslaught of early attacks, but many of their attempts were dissuaded with untimely offside calls. Yet, after a corner kick sailed into the box and was redirected into the back of the net, the scoreboard showed 1-0 Hillsdale with 31 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Bears’ sound defense in their own third kept Hillsdale from extending their lead, but M-A was unable to generate any quality chances for much of the first half. Senior defender Georgia Auerbach was instrumental in keeping the game close, as she effectively stopped the Knights’ attacks and helped facilitate the M-A attack.
M-A’s sophomore goalkeeper Elise Koo was also able to regroup after the early miscommunication on the goal, and made multiple quality saves to keep the Bears within reach. To maintain composure, Koo relied on her team., “I knew that they were capable of getting one back even though they didn’t get it this game, and I just focused on the next play,” she said.
As the first half wound down, M-A began finally getting consistent chances in Hillsdale’s half, but the clock ran out before they were able to convert.
When the second half kicked off, the Bears’ intensity came back to life. M-A pushed up on the attack and began playing with more urgency and aggressiveness as they searched for an equalizer. Junior Brooke Fehrenbach said, “I think we were really motivated after we got a good halftime speech from [Coach] Jason, and we wanted the comeback after their goal in the first 10 minutes.”
The tide continued to turn as M-A gained momentum, and they began firing shots at the goal. The Bears however were unable to convert on any of these attempts, as some shots flew sideways, and some at the Hillsdale goalie.
One possible reason for M-A’s early struggles was the loss of some seniors who graduated this past year, leaving the Bears to have to compensate for their absence in the new season.
Coach Jason Luce said, “This season is different from last season because every season is its own season–based on last year you can’t really predict what happens this year. This year we’ve got normal growing pains that most teams have, and we are trying to find an identity and get more goals than the other team.”