The Mt. Zion girls soccer team’s seniors and their families stop for a photo right before last Thursday nights game against St. Teresa.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion girls soccer team won all three of their matchups last week. The Braves picked up wins against Danville, Williamsville and St. Teresa.
Against St. Teresa, the Braves controlled the ball in the midfield and their attacking half early. The Braves’ offense put pressure on the Braves defense. In the 12th minute Boston Flanigan crossed the ball to Wrigley Donahue who shot the ball into the back of the right-corner of the net to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.
St. Teresa didn’t roll over as five minutes later they pulled level with the Braves. Joella Livingston found Grace Buxton open who shot the ball and scored the goal to make the score 1-1.
The teams went back and forth and the Braves offense put shots on-goal, but couldn’t convert. That changed in the 35th minute. There was a miscue in the Bulldogs’ defense. Wrigley Donahue found the ball and collected it and then shot into the back of the net from outside the 18-yard line to give the Braves a 2-1 lead going into halftime.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the 52nd minute. Livingston shot the ball into the left corner that went off the sidebar and into the back of the net.
Despite the goal, the Braves’ defense allowed only three shots on-goal in the second half. Reese Donahue controlled the midfield defensively and in the back Macie Fleming and Mackenzie Krieger anchored the defense and shut down the Bulldogs’ offense. Sophomore goalkeeper Denver Anderson made five saves in the game.
“I thought we were pretty solid tonight,” Head coach Jonathan Moore said. “We moved the ball. We were good defensively, we had some opportunities, we capitalize on some opportunities. So overall it was a good solid win for us.”
The Braves’ defense turned into offensive opportunities. Bulldogs’ freshman goalkeeper Zakyrie Mayes made 12 saves throughout the game with nine of those coming in the second half.
The Braves’ pressure opened up the game in the 60th minute. Kaite Olliger crossed the ball into Maddie Kendall who shot the ball right into the back of the net to make the game-winning goal and give the Braves a 3-2 win.
“It was a good back and forth high school girls soccer game,” Coach Moore said. “what’s always important for us is after they score, the first five minutes after that we make sure that we’re still on our toes, we’re winning 5050 balls, because we have a tendency that we can have a tendency to sit back on your heels and then give up another one and then boom, you’re in a tie game again. So, I thought Maddie Kendall’s goal was just a nice touch and a great shot and it’s good to get to see the back of the net.
Against Danville, the Braves won 5-3. Against Williamsville, the Braves won 1-0.
“We always talk about it’s an uphill climb for us that we just keep getting better and show some progress each game,” Coach Moore said. “And hopefully we will be playing our best in May. So I thought this week was a perfect example that from Monday to Tuesday to Thursday we continually got better this week.”
This week the Braves will face Monticello, Pana and Mahomet-Seymour.