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Howard County Times
Howard County Sports

Reservoir girls soccer earns first county win after 2-0 decision over Marriotts Ridge

Last season it took Reservoir until its fifth game to claim its first victory of the season. But with higher expectations in 2016, the Gators took no time to clinch their second overall win in just their third match, while also earning its first county victory Tuesday in a 2-0 decision over Marriotts Ridge.

"A lot of people are predicting that we're going to have a really good season, so it's nice to get the first one," said Reservoir coach Phil Ranker. "Marriotts Ridge is no slouch. They have a lot of speed up top, but I thought we handled that well. And they obviously play well as a team together and stayed tight in their formation, so I give credit to them too. I was just happy that we were able to get the win."

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The hosting Gators controlled the majority of possession in the first-half. It took only 10 minutes after the opening whistle for them to find their first goal of the night.

A well-played ball down the right flank to Cassidy Pham started the attack, with Pham then finding Blair Vant Hoff running toward the end line. Vant Hoff received the pass, cut the ball back and played it inside to Kylie Toler who took a touch in the box and buried her shot far post out of the outstretched hand of the Mustangs' Emma Meininger.

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"I thought the first goal was awesome," Ranker said. "That's what we work on in practice is hitting on two or three passes to space and then getting it back to the middle for a shot, so I was really pleased with that."

Reservoir kept working the near sideline, trying to mirror its first goal, but didn't get another quality chance until more than midway through the half.

With about 14 minutes left before the break, the Gators pounced on a miss-cleared ball by Marriotts Ridge. The Mustangs tried clearing their defensive zone, but mistakenly knocked the ball toward the middle of the field. Vant Hoff found the loose ball and sailed a shot from just outside the box, over the head of Meininger for the goal, giving the Gators the 2-0 halftime lead.

"I feel great. I think it's a great start to the season," Vant Hoff said after the game. "We passed well and we did really good with the outside [runs], and crosses to the middle, and the finish. I think that was really good."

Marriotts Ridge started the second half strong, building more opportunities in its offensive end. Aly Wagner made some good runs up top for the Mustangs, and nearly gave her team a goal late in regulation.

It was Marriotts Ridge's best opportunity of the night, which came with about three minutes left in the game. Cassie Evans struck a well-placed free kick from just inside the midfield line, placing her cross right around the top of Reservoir's 18-yard box. A Gator defender miss-played the header, flicking the ball back, which was touched on once more to find Wagner open in front of net. But Wagner couldn't get a good touch on the ball, and sailed her shot high of the net.

"We just talked about stepping up the intensity making sure that we kept our shape and just refocus at halftime," said Mustangs coach Karyn Peksa. "We played, I think, together as a team. Tonight [Wagner] had some of the balls that ended up in the proximity of the goal, another night it might be somebody different."

Reservoir out-shot Marriotts Ridge 8-4 in the game, with the Gators earning four shots, and the Mustangs two shots, in each half. Wagner's chance late was the most dangerous play of the final 40 minutes, as Reservoir's defense played stout to finish out with the win. Senior right-back Bethany Golatt led the Gators, doing well containing the Mustangs speed with Wagner, Victoria Hensh and Katie Thompson up top.

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"Defensively I thought we did great. It looked like they only had one good opportunity there on kind of a strange free kick – a flick on by our team to Janie [Romer] – but overall I was happy with it. I felt like we played well," Ranker said. "I told Bethany as I pulled her out that I was just so impressed with her. The things that we had asked her to work on from the scrimmages and play day's and stuff, she completely fixed and really looked like a rock out there."

Meininger tallied five stops for the Mustangs, who drop to 0-2-1 overall on the year, while the Gators' Janie Romer registered three saves in the win, maintaining a clean sheet through three games thus far this season.

"It's obviously still early in the season so there are some things we can continue to improve," Ranker said. "Less heavy through balls, we're trying to work to the sideline and to the corner, taking shots when we have the opportunity to do so, [but] overall I'm really happy."

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Reservoir (2-1-0) and Marriotts Ridge wait a full week before they are back on the field, as the Gators visit Mt. Hebron and the Mustangs head to Oakland Mills.

"They were a good opponent and they were a good test," Peksa added. "I think we stepped up and played our game. It wasn't the outcome we wanted, but it was a learning experience and we'll take something from it today and we'll move forward."

Reservoir (2-1-0, 1-0) 2, Marriotts Ridge (0-1-2, 0-1) 0 (Tuesday, Sept. 6)

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Goals: Re – Toler, Vant Hoff.

Assists: Re – Vant Hoff.

Saves: Re – Romer 3; MR – Meininger 5.

Halftime: 2-0, Reservoir.


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