Glenelg Country girls soccer senior Alisha Netus slipped and slid all around the field on Thursday, unable to find her footing against Bryn Mawr on its wet grass field. She routinely beat Mawrtian players to the ball but would soon fall to the ground, something she wasn’t used to having played on turf for much of the season.
It seemed one of the only times she remained upright was after she drilled a penalty kick into the goalkeeper’s stomach, keeping the match scoreless with about 23 minutes to play.
But in the game’s final moments, Netus broke free for a run down the left side without losing her traction. She outran the nearest defender and cleanly launched a left-footed strike, once again right at the goalie. Only this time, the ball bounced off her chest, through her legs and slowly dribbled across the end line, serving as the only goal in the Dragons’ eventual 1-0 victory.
“Don’t let the other girls push you around,” Netus thought to herself throughout the game. “Just play your game because you’re good and you can score.”
The goal, which helped Glenelg Country improve to 8-1 in IAAM B play, wasn’t met with the same celebration as a typical game-winner. Netus slowly walked toward her teammates, who were in no rush to meet their top goal-scorer. There were a few claps, a cheer here and there, but nothing to suggest the Dragons had just taken a late-match lead.
By that point, the Netus said they were just relieved to have finally broken through, knowing they could have scored earlier in the contest despite the field conditions.
“It’s wet, so the balls are skipping, and everyone has a bad touch, and it’s going everywhere,” coach Christy Cole said. “So, recognizing that, and running through balls, and then making sure we’re settling successfully before we’re transitioning our play.”
Cole said her team made the necessary adjustments after intermission, which led to more quality chances around the net. The Dragons (8-1 IAAM B, 9-1) produced five shots on goal — the same number as the first period — but improved possession by stringing passes together. Then it came down to Netus executing in front of goal for her 13th score of the season.
The Dragons had their opening period chances, too, none more dangerous than when Netus and fellow striker Ava Swartz connected about 15 minutes into the match.
When Netus’ pass found the freshman, only the goalie stood between her and her 11th tally of the year. She had scored in all but one game entering Thursday, and it seemed as though this game would be no different. Swartz unleashed a grounder, which clanked off the right post and rolled across the goal without anyone touching it. Moments later, Bryn Mawr cleared it away.
The Mawrtians never created that good of a look, but they did finish with seven shots, many of those coming the opening 20 minutes as the they kept Glenelg Country off balance with swift ball movement. But around the net, they faltered. Their shots sailed high or bounced wide. And from there on out, those precious opportunities proved much harder to come by.
Despite its offensive struggles, Bryn Mawr put itself in position to earn no worse than a draw as the game clock sunk below five minutes. And the field conditions alone made it feel like neither team would put one home before the final whistle.
Then, on her final run, Netus neither slid nor slipped en route to capping yet another Glenelg Country victory against stiff IAAM B competition.