Clarke’s Varsity Girls won a tough and physical soccer match against Madison County’s Mountaineers last night. The game featured wind and rain, slick field conditions and several missed scoring opportunities that could have swung the game in either direction. At the end of the night a cold, wet and ebullient team advanced into a second place league standing with their 2-1 victory over the Mountaineers.
Coach Terry Ellis congratulated the team after the game saying “You out hustled them on every play and that’s why you won!”
Sophomore forward Brogan Jones struck early for the Eagles scoring a hard shot past the Mountaineer’s goalie just four minutes into the game. The score served to motivate the Mountaineer team offensively over the next five minutes of the game. The Mountaineers kept the ball in Clarke territory delivering two hard shots in succession, the first glancing just right of Clarke’s goal and the second missing just left.
The Mountaineer’s struck back at 27:46 with a weak shot from mid-fielder Katy Salmon that caught Clarke’s goalkeeper Brittany Yates off-guard. Salmon’s shot appeared to be kept aloft by the windy conditions dropping behind Yates and into the goal as the Clarke goalie desperately back-peddled.
It was tough to judge whether Clarke’s Yates or Madison’s Salmon was more surprised by the goal. Salmon’s goal left the Mountaineers and the Eagles tied 1-1 at the end of the first half.
Clarke nearly scored 30 seconds into the second half, but not against the Mountaineers. Bowing to tough Mountaineer offensive pressure, defensive back senior Sarah Elliston attempted to pass the ball back to goalkeeper Yates to avoid several onrushing forwards. Elliston’s pass lifted off the turf only to transform into a hard shot that Yates was somehow able to catch preventing a self-inflicted wound.
“That was a little scary” Coach Ellis said after the game ended.
Both teams battled mid-field throughout the night. Light rain fell much of the evening generating muddy conditions and causing poor footing for the players. Game time winds out of the south at 12 m.p.h. combined with temperatures in the forties kept playing conditions challenging all night.
Clarke forward Meredith Roberts scored what proved to be the game-winning goal twelve minutes into the second half on a break-away pass from mid-fielder senior Aubrey Fletcher.
Clarke’s victory hopes sustained one final scare fourteen minutes into the second half after the Mountaineers were awarded a penalty kick on a Clarke tackling foul. Madison mid-fielder Rachel Strahan lined up in front of Clarke goalkeeper Brittany Yates only to send a hard free shot sailing over the top bar of Clarke’s goal. Strahan clutched her head in despair after the miss while the Eagle players savored the moment.
Coach Ellis said that he couldn’t have been happier with the evening’s performance. “Last week we lost against George Mason. Tonight we used more of an offensive strategy that seemed to pay off.”
Clarke County hosts Strasburg on Friday evening then finishes out its season at Rappahannock County on May 18th. Clarke defeated both teams by wide margins earlier in the season.