Heading in to the matchup against Long Reach Friday, Wilde Lake sophomore Julianna “Biggie” Bonner felt confident before stepping on to the field, but she never would have guessed how productive her day would actually be.
Bonner scored all four of the Wildecats goals on the night and propelled her team to a 4-2 victory over the visiting Lightning.
“I did feel good going in to today, but it was one of those things where I did not think this was going to be like what just happened,” Bonner said. “It was great because every one on our team stepped up and I think that’s what really helped.”
The regulation win ended a streak of four consecutive overtime games played for Wilde Lake, and also broke a mark of four-straight winless contests, losing three and tying one match in that span.
“It was so great. I know every time in practice our coach is like, ‘Guys we’re tired. We need to stop going into overtime.’ And I think because we worked together today – and like how many different people assisted... that is why we won this game,” Bonner said. “I really felt like when we came on this field today our team was just on it and I felt like our team was going to be good. We needed this. It’s really going to help us in the long run.”
The Wildecats didn’t start the game too hot off the opening whistle, as Long Reach controlled much of the play to start. The Lightning geared a few shots toward Wilde Lake goalkeeper Jenna Hutchison (six saves) before putting away the opening goal with 36 minutes left in the half.
Long Reach sophomore midfielder Gabriela Cabrera instigated the first goal, winning possession near the far corner flag and sending a low pass across the box to sophomore forward Kaitlin Carino, who one-timed her shot at goal. Hutchison dove and made the initial stop, but with the slick conditions due to some on-going light rain throughout the game, could not corral the attempt. Sophomore forward Lyric Swann came crashing in and cleaned up in front of the net to give the Lightning the, 1-0 lead.
“After the two minutes I thought it could have gone either way,” said Wilde Lake coach Megan Shea. “Because Long Reach definitely came to play tonight and that first goal I was thinking in my head, ‘Oh no, this can go either two ways – Long Reach is just going to come and roll over us or we can come back and be stronger. Luckily for us tonight, we did the second.”
The goal ignited the Wildecats offense, which started pressing after getting into the one goal hole. Bonner officially tied up the game six minutes after Swann’s score, beating the Lightning’s back line on a ball played through by newly called-up freshman Nicola Arnovitz and found herself one-on-one with Long Reach sophomore goalkeeper Riley Holmes.
Holmes came rushing out, but Bonner slotted her shot right past her for the score.
“It was tough. The momentum shifted in the middle of the first half, especially after they scored the equalizer,” said Long Reach coach Sam Haddad. “I have a young team and I just need them to keep going in the right direction. They are getting better and they keep playing better soccer game after game. [Bonner] I have to give her a lot of credit. She is tough. She’s got speed. She is skilled. In the second half I thought to put a mark on her to shut her down, but you know – we’re just going to keep improving as a team.”
Bonner gave her team the lead midway through the half, after the Wildecats won the ball back on their defensive side of the field. She was given the ball as an outlet about 30 yards from her own goal, then turned and dribbled about 60 yards down field, beating a few Lightning’s defenders and earned another one-on-one with Holmes. Again Holmes came rushing out, but Bonner neatly placed her shot in the far corner for the goal.
Bonner then tallied her third score with about 15 minutes remaining, but this time it came off a volley from a nice cross sent in by senior Sahar Zoghi. The goal ultimately gave the Wildecats the comfortable two-goal cushion entering halftime.
“Biggie has a never say die attitude and that’s what I am looking for out of a striker,” Shea said. “Sometimes she is a little timid about having that attitude, but I told her that is what makes strikers great. They are the people who don’t care and they’re going to go after everything and give 100 percent effort every single time.”
Bonner carried over the momentum into the second half and quickly pushed the Wildecats lead up to three. Off another pass from Arnovitz, Bonner found some space atop the Lightning six-yard box and hit her shot past Long Reach’s Stephanie Moy (four saves), who came in for Holmes midway through the first half.
“I thought Biggie had an incredible game,” Shea said. “I had talked to her before the game and had a little one-on-one conversation with her – and I also talked to her yesterday at practice – about that I have been seeing the effort in these past games, but there hasn’t been the results for her. So I am really happy to see that she actually got rewarded for all the hard work tonight.”
However, the Lightning were not out of it just yet. About seven minutes after Bonner registered her fourth goal, Long Reach earned a free kick just outside Wilde Lake’s 18-yard box. Junior captain Jessie Lee stepped up to take the kick and sent a blooper atop the six, right at junior midfielder Jillian Watt, who headed in her team’s second of the night.
“We scored two goals – that is a plus,” Haddad said. “We’re going to focus on that. We haven’t scoreed many goals in the past since the season started, so although we gave up four goals, we scored two. I’m going to try and have them focus on that. A couple of breakaways from [Bonner] and it could have been a different game.”
Haddad had moved Lee up from her normal center back position prior to the outing, and although she was credited with just an assist in the game, Lee put several solid shots on Hutchison and provided the Lightning with a spark up top.
“I put the combination of Jessie [Lee] and Paige [Rosenfeld] up top, where Paige can do a lot of work and Jessie has a knack to go to goal and get a lot of shots and she did have a lot of shots today, just nothing went in,” Haddad added. “But she did give us a spark up top, which is something I am going to continue doing.”
Long Reach (0-4-2, 0-5-2) pressed the remainder of the night, but didn’t put anything else too dangerous on Hutchison and ultimately took its second-consecutive loss.
The Wildecats (2-3-1, 2-4-1) were in desperate need of a victory, after losing three games in overtime and winning no games at home before Friday night’s match.
The win could give Wilde Lake a huge confidence boost moving forward, as it builds toward the postseason.
“We talked about this yesterday how we have yet [lost] a game in county and we have yet to win a game at home yet. We have gone into overtime twice at home, so to get our first win at home was a really big relief and it definitely helps with the team morale,” Shea added. “I feel like we have kind of been thinking that we have trouble scoring, because we haven’t been scoring a lot, but if you look around the county not many teams have been scoring. Tonight we proved to ourselves that if we put in that effort and continue to go forward that we can score.”
Wilde Lake’s next match is Tuesday, Oct. 4 at Oakland Mills for a 4 p.m. game, while the Lightning are set to host Reservoir at 5:30.
Wilde Lake (2-3-1 county, 2-4-1 overall) 4, Long Reach (0-4-2 county, 0-5-2 overall) 2 (Friday, Sept. 30)
Goals: WL – Bonner 4; LR – Swann, Watts.
Assists: WL – Zoghi; LR – Carino, Je. Lee
Saves: WL – Hutchison 6; LR – Moy 4.
Halftime: 3-1, Wilde Lake.
Around the league:
Centennial (3-2-1 county, 6-2-1 overall) 4, Hammond (1-5 county, 3-5 overall) 0 (Friday, Sept. 30)
The Eagles collected their third county win Friday, dominating the visiting Golden Bears to earn the shutout win.
Senior Jasmine McCree continued her productive 2016 and netted two more goals on the season, while senior Cristina Narron and junior Kirsten Wikner tallied the other two goals for Centennial.
Both teams struggled with possession due to the slick conditions from the on-going rain, but the Eagles did out-shoot Hammond, 12-3 in the game.
Sophomore Courtney McVicker and freshman Ashley Bilger split time in net for Centennial and each registered one save, respectively. Senior Vicki Howard totaled four stops for the Golden Bears.
Both teams are back on the field Tuesday, Oct. 4, with the Eagles visiting Mt. Hebron and Hammond hosting Marriotts Ridge. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Chapelgate (2-4 IAAM C, 2-8 overall) 2, Oldfields (0-6 IAAM C, 0-6 overall) 0 (Thursday, Sept. 29)
The Yellowjackets collected their second win of the season Thursday at Cedar Lane Park, handing Oldfields its sixth loss of the year after the, 2-0, decision.
Chapelgate senior midfielder Megan Donnelly netted the first goal of the afternoon with a first-half score that gave her team the lead entering the break. Senior midfielder Mya Boyd tallied the Yellowjackets second goal of the game in the final 40 minutes to solidify the 2-0 outcome. Senior midfielder Jenna Winand and senior defender Amanda Rickett registered an assist each in the outing, while senior Madison Boyd finished with five saves in the game for Chapelgate.
The Yellowjackets wait a full week before getting back on the field, as they take on St. John’s in Marriottsville on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.
Goals: C – Donnelly, Mya Boyd.
Assists: C – Winand, Rickett.
Saves: C – Ma. Boyd 5.
Halftime: 1-0, Chapelgate.