WEST PORTSMOUTH — 2015 has been a rough season for the Portsmouth West girls soccer team, as a program full of young talent is still searching for its first victory on the season. But on Wednesday, the Senators came out and played their best game of the season, keeping Waverly off the scoreboard for nearly entire game.
However, they came up just a few minutes short.
With two minutes remaining in the game, Waverly’s Lauren Snodgrass sent a corner kick to the middle of the field and Rose Remington did the rest. Her goal proved to the only score of the contest, and the Tigers held on for a 1-0 win.
“They thought they could win this one,” West soccer coach Robert Marasek said. “For 78 minutes, we were good enough to win.”
It seemed that Waverly had taken a 1-0 lead around the five minute mark when the Tigers burried a penalty kick. However, the goal was disallowed, as Waverly had executed a direct kick when an indirect kick was awarded.
The Tigers continued to control the match after the penalty kick. For the first 20 minutes of the match, Waverly kept play close to the Senator goal, as their midfielders continued to win jump ball after jump ball at midfield. Remington and Brittany Green each had early chances saved by the Senators early in the match.
“Keep it in them, put pressure on them, make them make the mistakes, and we will capitalize from those mistakes,” Waverly coach Chris Murphy said of the Tigers’ strategy.
But as the half progressed, the momentum began to shift toward the Senators. The West fullbacks created a number of turnovers near midfield, and got the ball up to speedy forwards Emily Taylor and Lindsey Howard. Each a few chances to take the lead, but all of their shots went wide or were saved by the Waverly keeper.
“We just couldn’t capitalize. We couldn’t get it past their keeper,” Marasek said. “We just couldn’t make the mark.”
In the second half, both teams struggled to grab momentum of the match. Both Waverly’s aggressive style and West’s opportunistic run-outs gave both teams equal chances in the final 40 minutes of play. As the clock continued to tick, the Senators grew more and more confident that they could at least notch their first draw of the season.
But with less than five minutes remaining in the match, Waverly held the ball in the Senator end for an extended period, coming up with a number of scoring opportunities. Finally, with two minutes remaining, they broke through when Snodgrass found Remington streaking toward the goal on a corner kick.
“We just try and keep things simple. Because we were moving to the ball and not ball watching, we were able to get it in and sneak it in,” Murphy said.
Though West’s strong effort went for not, Marasek noted that Wednesday marked the Senators’ best game of the season, and hopes it carries over down the stretch run.
“They came out tonight with a little more fire, so hopefully we can keep that fire lit and stoke it a little bit more,” he said.
As for Waverly, they hope Wednesday win will serve as momentum in a late-season push to catch Wheelersburg atop the SOC II standings.
“We need to keep playing with intensity and executing. We need to teach some of these girls, many of who have never played a sport before, how to compete and stay consistent,” Murphy said.
The Senators take the field again next Tuesday, when they travel to West Union for a non-conference match, while Waverly hosts Fairfield Union on Saturday.
Waverly def. West 1-0
First half — No scoring.
Second half — 1, Waverly, R. Remington (L. Snodgrass), 78th minute.
Records — Waverly 3-5 (3-2 SOC II), West 0-9 (0-5 SOC II)
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter