Playing in her first high school girls soccer playoff game, Reservoir sophomore Kayla Pindell didn’t wait long to make her mark. Pindell scored early in the second half in Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal matchup with Atholton, helping her squad earn a 1-0 win.
The Gators' victory avenged a regular season finale loss to the Raiders.
“We knew they were a really good team. We were just not going to lose to them again,” said Pindell. “We just said we were winning, and that’s it.”
Atholton traveled to Fulton looking to capitalize on a late-season surge that included wins over River Hill, Wilde Lake and the Gators. But, after receiving a bye in the first round of the playoffs, coach Stephanie Stoutenborough said her club couldn’t find the momentum it once had.
“It set us back a little bit,” she said of the team's ten days off. “We kind of got off track from where were heading.”
In the first half, Reservoir dominated all aspects of the field. Winning possessions, creating chances and nearly putting shot after shot in the back of the net, Sullivan said his team was executing the way they had planned, regardless of the lack of goals.
“We had countless shots hitting the crossbar,” he said. “We did everything we wanted but finish. We’ll work on that over the next few days.”
In the second half, the Gators were able to finally get on the board.
Just six minutes after intermission, Keri Rager sent a cross to Darci Fehr, who looked primed to take an open shot.
Fehr reared back and delivered a rocket toward the goal. That’s when Pindell—a late-season addition to the Gators roster as the team readied for the postseason—got her foot on the ball, redirecting Fehr’s shot and scoring the game’s only goal.
“I thought she had a shot, and I just got a touch on it basically,” she said of her goal. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
Following Pindell’s goal, the Raiders began to show signs of life.
A flurry of chances in the box on two separate occasions, including a close scare with ten minutes remaining, were thwarted by Gators goalie Abby Gillum.
Though Gillum was relatively untested in the contest, Tuesday’s shutout was the keeper’s sixth scoreless match in county play.
For Atholton, a season that showed promise, especially through October, comes to a close. Stoutenborough said the playoff loss to Reservoir was not indicative of her team’s performance overall.
“I don’t think the way we played tonight was one of our high points of this year,” she said. “It was more along the lines of how we started the season.”
Reservoir doesn’t get a chance to take a breath, as it will battle River Hill on Friday in Clarksville. The winner of that game will face either Mt. Hebron or Centennial for a chance at a 3A East regional crown, as well as a berth in the state semifinals.
“I’m very pleased with this performance tonight,” said Sullivan. “But ideally, we still have four more games to go.”
Other Howard County girls soccer playoff action: