WAYNESBORO – The Waynesboro Maidens and Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils were on their way to a potential scoreless tie and overtime in their Mid-Penn Colonial Division match at Buchanan Automotive Stadium.
Neither team’s offense could do much past midfield, and when they did, they couldn’t find any glimpse of a scoring opportunity. While it might have come as a relief to the goalkeepers, who watched action unfold farther downfield, it was no doubt frustrating to players and coaches alike as teams played what amounted to kickball.
Indeed, scoring isn’t exactly plentiful in soccer. But, when one team scores that first goal, it serves two purposes: 1. It gets a big monkey off a team’s back and a sense of renewed confidence knowing that its opponent has the pressure to respond; 2. It deflates the morale of the opposing team, who knows that it has to respond with a goal of its own.
Greencastle was the first to get the proverbial monkey off its back. The Blue Devils then added another goal and preserved the shutout.
The final score of 2-0 didn’t reflect the measure of dominance by the winning team. In fact, it could be said that if soccer was scored like boxing, it could have come down to a split decision.
That element – sustained effort – encouraged Waynesboro head coach Brian Fisher, now in his 11th season with the Maidens. He then said that his team needs to iron out the offensive wrinkles and reinforcing the defensive game, especially in its own goal crease.
“I thought we shut them down really well,” said Fisher, whose team is now 3-3 on the season. “I thought it was a really even game. We had the passion, the 50-50 balls, that desire, the competitive fire. I was real pleased with how we played in the first half. It felt good. I know we didn’t have a whole lot of chances but it was a pretty complete first half, maybe the best first half in terms of taking someone away (Haley Noblit).”
The dribbling and passing combination of True Benchoff, Gracie French and Nikki Davis, with efficient throw-ins by Angie Ayala, kept the pressure off Waynesboro goalkeeper Alexis Smith.
Meanwhile, Noblit, Brooke Guthrie, Madison Koons and Shaina Overcash bided their time looking for an opening to break the scoreless tie.
It finally happened in the ninth minute of the second half. Moments earlier, Waynesboro’s Benchoff had a shot on goal but was denied by goalkeeper Lydia Mowen. G-A then went on the offensive, covering three-fourths of the field. Guthrie had a shot on goal that went wide. Noblit found Guthrie not far in front of the goal and surrounded by Waynesboro defenders. Guthrie somehow got off a pretty solid shot that ricocheted past Smith.
“I don’t know if we ran out of gas in the second half. We worked hard, but it seemed we just didn’t have enough,” Fisher said.
The Maidens were on the defensive as time became a factor.
Then, inside of five minutes remaining in the match, the Blue Devils scored the proverbial insurance goal as Noblit made what amounted to a free kick around 30 yards out.
“It was just a little deflating. Our girl was just trying to clear,” said Fisher. “It was kind of unfortunate. We don’t have a super deep bench. I wish we had five subs we could use to keep people fresh. We played them hard for a half; we have to create opportunities moving forward.”
Waynesboro will try to get back on the winning track and stay above .500 when the Maidens host Mechanicsburg on Tuesday. Start time is approximately 6:30 p.m.