WEST PORTSMOUTH — West junior Preslee Jenkins and Northwest senior Ellie Curtis both made the play their team needed — when they needed it most.
After a scoreless first 57 minutes of soccer on the ‘West Side’, Jenkins managed to race past the Mohawks’ back line and net the game’s first goal past Northwest goalkeeper Haley Montavon to put the Lady Senators ahead 1-0 with 23 minutes left in the game.
For those final 23 minutes, the Lady Senators efforted to keep the Lady Mohawks out — and even away from — the goal at all costs.
With four minutes to play and with Northwest threatening to tie, a West defender passed the ball backward to junior goalkeeper Kinslie Scarberry, who attempted to gain possession.
In an instant, Curtis — being the heady senior goal-scorer she’s proven to be in her time as a Lady Mohawk — assumed possession from West just feet from the left post and netted the equalizing goal.
“Ellie this season has worked really hard,” Northwest coach Mollie King said. “Pretty much has scored every game for us. She had multiple shots on goal, couldn’t get it through then with four minutes left she’s able to pop one right in the back of the net. Proud of her for stepping up and for the year she’s had.
“I thought if we got one more right we could close it out. A couple of times Ashlynn (Pfau) had a couple breakaways, and Preslee had a couple of nice shots,” West coach Tom Hoggard said. “But their keeper did a nice job, I think I had her for seven saves.”
With the 1-1 tie, the Lady Senators earned their first draw versus a Southern Ohio Conference opponent since tying Northwest when this year’s senior class were freshmen — a 0-0 tie at West on Sept. 25, 2017.
If the Lady Senators had managed to hold on to their lead, and keep the Lady Mohawks out of the net, it would have marked their first win versus a league opponent since prior to Hoggard’s tenure as West’s coach.
That win came on Sept. 29, 2016 — a 3-2 win at Roy Rogers Field in McDermott.
In 2019, West earned a 0-0 tie versus Chesapeake in the regular-season finale — their last non-loss result prior to Wednesday’s tie versus Northwest.
Wednesday’s contest was also Senior Night for the nine Portsmouth West seniors: Madison Aeh, Brooklyn Barfield, Allison Cooper, Macie Galloway, Haven Hileman, Layla McCleese, Ashlynn Pfau, Zoe-Hanna Rawlins and Bailee Wireman.
Hoggard spoke after the game about his seniors and the effort they put forth in earning their first league non-loss since their freshmen season, despite all the uncertainty ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We told them at the beginning of the year, ‘You might play one or two games’, but now we’ve played seven,” Hoggard said. “Every game is a chance to get better and they’ve done that. We have nine seniors, most of them have been with us for four years and three have been here three years. Matt (Merrifield, assistant coach) and I started when they were freshmen, so it’s kind of our senior year I guess, too.”
King, a first-year head coach in her first head coaching role, spoke to what she felt like her Northwest team can work on moving forward that will benefit it for the remainder of the regular season.
“There’s always a chance to learn,” King said. “This is definitely a learning experience for us. We came in and West came in working hard on us. Both sides had opportunities, but neither side could really capitalize too much. Hopefully we can keep practicing and getting the balls in the back of the net for ourselves, and the small passes, things like that.”
Northwest and West will meet again on Oct. 8 for their contest at Roy Rogers Field, the second of two meetings between the two SOC foes.
Prior to that, West will travel to Piketon on Monday for a winnable non-league game.
In their previous matchup this season on Aug. 26, the Lady Senators fell to the Lady Redstreaks 3-0.
Northwest travels to face defending league co-champion Waverly next Tuesday, which means another gameplan for another quality team from King and her assistant, former head coach Tim Amburgey.
“I’ve learned that no team in the conference so far plays the same,” King said. “It’s a learning experience trying to adapt to every team we play. Every team plays differently, and that in itself is a learning experience.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved