MINFORD — Throughout the duration of the 2017 season, the production of Erin Daniels and Marissa Risner at the head of the offensive attack has been nothing but vital to the play of the Minford girls soccer program.
On Tuesday evening, the duo, once again, came up large as the pair added goals in the 17th and 37th minutes of action to allow the Lady Falcons to control a Division III Sectional Final matchup against Chesapeake on Tuesday evening as Shane Tieman’s club not only defeated Chesapeake for the third time in 2017, but clinched its spot in district play as a result with the victory.
For Tieman, defeating a team once is hard enough, no matter who the opponent is. However, the ability of his Lady Falcons to obtain the same positive result three times speaks volumes about the girls that are present on the veteran coach’s roster.
“It was a good team effort today,” Tieman said. “I was worried about Chesapeake. It’s hard to beat a team three times, and they improved from our first game to our second game, so I knew that they were going to be even tougher tonight. They were moving the ball really well. We were able to step up and answer the challenge. I’m proud of the effort, and got some great play, not only from my center midfielders, (Erin) Daniels and (Marissa) Risner, but all around. The girls hustled to the ball, and they won a lot of possessions, so I’m very pleased.”
Over the first 10 minutes of action, both teams battled for control as each unit made several strong runs at the goal. But from the 10th minute on forward, it was the Lady Falcons who proved to have the gumpton necessary to maintain constant possession.
From the 15th through the 17th minutes, Minford relentlessly attacked the Chesapeake, as the Lady Falcons just missed capitalizing on an Emily Shoemaker touch and an Erin Daniels header attempt in back-to-back minutes. Daniels and the Minford offense, however, kept attacking, and in the 17th minute, pinpoint passing on the far side of the field allowed Ali Brumfield to tap a ball inside to Daniels in the box, where the senior pounded home a shot to the far side of the net en route to putting the Lady Falcons up by a 1-0 tally in the 17th minute.
“It’s definitely a team effort,” Tieman said of how Minford has put together its offensive attack in 2017. “I try to stress that the first pass up, along with the second and third passes up, are just as important as the actual goal and assist, because without any of them in a chain, we don’t score. It was a good effort.”
In the following minute, Chesapeake nearly struck with an equalizing goal that could’ve turned the contest into a frenzy in the 18th minute. However, the Lady Panthers’ golden chance glanced off of the side of the crossbar and sailed out of bounds, and from there, the Minford defense took charge behind the play of Hannah Tolle and Aspen Lambert.
In the 35th minute, Chesapeake obtained its last true open opportunity for the entire affair, but Lambert wisely used her frame to block the shot.
“Hannah Tolle played strong in the middle,” Tieman said. “I was glad to see her win a lot of possessions. Those higher-placed kicks are tougher to judge than people then, and she was able to get those upfield and get them trapped. Aspen’s a good, solid defensive player, but she’s also a good wildcard for us. She can move upfield and move the ball around. She’s really developed that part of her game as far as getting the ball to someone to set up a play. That’s good to see. It was a great effort all around.”
Behind Lambert’s blocked shot, the Minford offense, behind the play of Daniels and Risner up top, were able to strike again. In the 37th tally, a deflected shot ended up sailing all the way back to Risner, who, with open space, pulled a high-velocity shot that sailed well into the upper 90 to give the Lady Falcons a comfortable 2-0 advantage heading into the halftime break.
“Marissa has a leg like none other,” Tieman said. “She’s very good from 20, 25 yards out. If I played her any closer, (the shots) are all going over (the net). She does a great job for us. She has good field vision and is a tough girl.”
As solid as Minford’s offensive attack proved to be in the first half, the second stanza of action actually showcased the Lady Falcons’ offensive prowess in a greater light than the first half did.
Overall, the Lady Falcons obtained a 9-1 edge in shots just in the second half alone — including three free kicks from Risner that just missed high of the goal by several inches apiece — as Minford dominated time of possession over the final 40 minutes of action en route to the win.
“We controlled the second half a little bit better, and we were talking a little better,” Tieman said. “When you talk, that increases your ability to control the game. I was very pleased with that.”
With the victory, Minford, who outscored Chesapeake by an 8-1 count in 2017 between each of its three meetings, moved to 12-5 in 2017 with the win. The Lady Falcons will get North Adams, who defeated West Union by an 8-0 count on Tuesday evening, on Oct. 24 in Waverly in what will be a Division III District Semifinal matchup that will commence at 7 p.m.
“We’re going to need everything we’ve got against North Adams,” Tieman said. “We’re going to be in for a tough, physical game on Tuesday. We’ll been practicing hard this week, and we’ll be ready on Tuesday.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7