In a contest dominated by the defenses, Century captain Haley Greenwade took advantage of one of very few scoring chances to net the decisive goal.
Midway through the second half Thursday, the senior forward delivered the game’s lone score to lift the Knights to a 1-0 road victory at Manchester Valley.
At the 16-minute mark of the second half, the Knights earned a corner kick with consistent pressure on Manchester Valley goalkeeper Emma Lander. Century’s Melody Leiva lofted the ball into the box and Greenwade slipped between a pair of Mavericks to head the ball past the diving keeper.
“We run set plays all the time,” Century head coach Chris Little said. “It’s a team goal for us to get to a certain number of set-play goals. The ball was played in very nicely by [Melody] and Haley finished it nicely. We work on that sort of stuff all day in practice.”
Century was the aggressor in the second half, earning several scoring chances before Greenwade finally cashed in. Moments before the Century goal, forward Ava Geishauser earned a penalty kick with a nicely timed rush into the box. The freshman beat Lander on the penalty kick, but the ball rolled just outside the post to keep the game scoreless.
“We need to work on executing in the final third,” Greenwade said. “We had a lot of opportunities, at least we got one in. So many people had open shots. I’m obviously grateful that we won, but the game could have been a lot more [high scoring].”
Century keeper Mia Graff earned the shutout, only needing to make two saves thanks to a stifling defense that funneled the ball away from the net. Coach Little credited his senior defender Lauren Hackett for providing leadership in the middle and helping the team communicate.
“Lauren Hackett in the middle of the field did a great job tonight,” Little said. “The players in front of her, our freshman Isabella Coccio and Bella Mastria, really did a nice job [staying] in front of the ball. [The team] did a fantastic job of communication, which was one of our [top goal] today. Being able to communicate and being able to fend off a really good team with a really good set of strikers.”
Early in the contest, Manchester Valley did find a little room to operate in the offensive zone, but had trouble putting shots on the goal. In the first five minutes of the game, Mavericks’ senior midfielder Taylor Dadds sent a shot over the crossbar. A few minutes earlier, another shot went wide on a set play off a corner kick.
Mavericks head coach Hogan Allen lamented the missed opportunities early in the game.
“We actually outshot them in the first half,” Allen said. “We had our chances, we just didn’t capitalize. Ball wouldn’t bounce our way tonight. It happens.”
Century 1, Manchester Valley 0
Goals: Century - Haley Greenwade.
Assists: Century – Melody Leiva.
Saves: Century – Mia Graff 2. Man Valley – Emma Lander 5.