CURWENSVILLE — The Curwensville girls soccer team gave first-year head coach Maddie Williams her first win Tuesday afternoon at Coach Andy Evanko Stadium, slipping past visiting Brockway 2-1.
Chloe Davis and Emma Rebar scored for the Lady Tide, who evened their record at 1-1 after opening the season with a loss to Moshannon Valley.
“It really feels good for me, but even more for the girls,” Williams said. “I think this was the confidence boost we needed. I think they needed to prove to themselves that they could do it.
“We were a little disorganized at times, but we were able to pull it together as a team, have some tough conversations and they checked themselves out of that, so that was really impressive, and I’m proud of them for that.”
Williams said she was a little concerned coming into the game due to the long layoff between games. The Lady Tide hadn’t played since Sept. 14, a span of eight days in which they were chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch.
“It made me a little bit nervous,” Williams said of the layoff. “I definitely think it dulled the momentum a little bit. The girls weren’t able to redeem themselves as quickly as I think they wanted to. But we can’t control those things. We just have to show up and play with the cards that were dealt, and I think we did that.”
It did look like perhaps the layoff had some ill effects in the early going as Brockway controlled the opening minutes of the game and was able to get off to a quick start when Lily Sysko beat Lady Tide keeper Maura Bunnell with a bad-angle shot that snuck inside the near post at 5:55.
The Lady Rovers had three of the first four shots of the game and both Sysko and Amanda Decker had good looks at the goal and could have added to the lead, but Bunnell made the saves.
Curwensville was able to begin building momentum and started to enjoy some time in the attacking third of the field as Davis and Rebar both started generating opportunities.
Davis converted on one of her three first-half shots, when she got to a loose ball just outside the 18 and sent it past Lady Rover keeper Rylee Welsh at 22:04 to even the score.
“Chloe didn’t have a lot of room on that shot and she was still able to get the job done,” Williams said. “She didn’t wait for the perfect, pretty shot. She got her foot on it and put it in the back of the net.”
Curwensville ended the half with an 8-3 advantage on shots and seemingly had the momentum at the break.
But it was the Lady Rovers who came out as the aggressor in the second half, keeping possession in the attacking third for much of the first 10 minutes, while firing several shots at Bunnell, who was able to keep them all out of the net.
Bunnell made a sprawling stop of a ball that came in from her right, diving back across her body to knock it out of danger. She also cut down the angle when Lady Rover Danielle Wood had a one-on-one opportunity and the ball rung off the post.
“I think that’s a recurring thing that we start out a little bit flat (in the second half), Williams said. “I think we need to come out of the gates on fire. But I’m really proud of my defense for being able to hold their composure.
Eventually Curwensville regained momentum and was able to mount some offense. Then at 62:53, Rebar found some room from about 25 yards away from the goal and sent a high shot to the near post that eluded the outstretched hands of Welsh, who stoned the Lady Tide sniper on a similar ball in the first half.
“I think she definitely needed that, especially after that ball in the first half that the goalie tipped up and was able to turn around and punch away,” Williams said. “I think it was very redeeming for Emma to get another long shot. We’ve been working a lot in practice, trying to build their confidence from outside the 18 because Lord knows they are capable.”
Bunnell and the Curwensville defense did the rest, keeping the Brockway attack at bay to come away with the 2-1 victory.
Bunnell had nine saves for the Lady Tide.
Curwensville is back in action Thursday, hosting Brookville.
Score By Halves
Brockway 1 0 — 1
C’ville 1 1 — 2
B—Lily Sysko, (unassisted), 5:55.
C—Chloe Davis (unassisted), 22:04.
C—Emma Rebar (unassisted), 62:53.
Shots: Brockway 10, Curwensville 13. Saves: Brockway 9 (Rylee Welsh), Curwensville 9 (Maura Bunnell). Corner kicks: Brockway 4, Curwensville 2.