The Hereford girls soccer team faced a formidable foe in Sparrows Point on Tuesday evening. The Bulls’ usually relentless attack was stymied by Pointers senior center backs Abby Meadows and Lexi Foos.
In the end, it came down to one goal.
Hereford forward Payton Patrick sent a cross to Maggie Elliott, who scored with 13:39 left in the game to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead and, eventually, the victory.
“They’re a great defensive team,” Hereford coach Brad Duvall said. “Their back line is one of the best, if not the best, with ours. Their defense is so good, and we knew that it was going to be hard to score on them. I felt like once we could get one or two, we were in a pretty good spot because of how good we are in the back.”
Bulls senior midfielder Sarah Klink scored the first goal on a penalty kick with 6:22 left in the opening half. A Sparrows Point defender was whistled for a handball that allowed Klink to line up the seemingly routine shot, but she hadn’t taken a penalty kick in years.
“I was a little nervous because I was pushing forward and then they got the handball,” Klink said. “I hadn’t taken a PK in a while, but I thought that I’d put it low and close to the ground and it worked. It was a good start and good goal to begin our game. It’s fun to have competition and to push for that last goal and win it. We don’t have that many games and it’s fun when we win and work together as a team.”
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Laura Schmidt stood out as part of a Hereford back line that allowed just one goal. The Bulls’ commitment to halting Sparrows Point’s attack after the first goal by midfielder Bailey Arnett was key to the team’s success.
Goalkeeper Lucy Griffin made several saves throughout the game and was the glue that kept things together. The undefeated Bulls (4-0) pride themselves on their defense, opening the season with three shutouts before allowing a goal Tuesday.
“They’re definitely a very physical team and we’re not always used to that,” Schmidt said of Sparrows Point. “So, them coming out just like that, I think the back line adjusted well. Having to put pressure like that in the second half right out of the gates, I think we handled it pretty well. Even at practice, we are so competitive. We’re just such a competitive team. When we have a competitive game, it’s just so fun.”
The Pointers (2-2) were up to the challenge of stopping Patrick, who at times was triple-teamed. Meadows and Foos put the clamps on her scoring opportunities for the entire game. One thing Sparrows Point could not stop, albeit in a valiant effort, was Patrick’s ability to create chances for her other teammates.
Regardless of the outcome, Pointers coach Jonathan Wynne remained proud of the hustle that his team showed, proving they could compete with the big guns.
“We made tackle after tackle, after tackle, after tackle,” Wynne said. “It was just an absolutely fantastic performance in the back. You can’t ask a center back to do any more than she [Meadows] did. It was a tough PK in the first half and just a fantastic cross by Payton [Patrick] in the second half. That was the difference. They just a little more than we did in the second half.”