MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – J.B. Marine’s mission at halftime during its U15 State Cup pool play opener against St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Premier 97/98 at the Lou Fusz Complex on Saturday was simple.
The coaches “told us that if we really wanted it, we had to go out and take it,” J.B. Marine’s Kaleigh Meek said.
Meek did her part with a goal in the first minute of the second half. The scored tied the game 1-1 and that’s how it ended.
Grace Ballman started the play by beating her defender and crossing the ball into the box. Sarah Lyon flicked the ball off of her head and it found the foot of Meek, who chipped it over SLSG goalkeeper Jaime Spath to tie the game.
“We told them that we needed tighter marking and to be quicker,” J.B. Marine coach Daniel Garabedian said. “We needed to be doing things in two touches instead of four and we needed to start anticipating better.”
SLSG almost reclaimed the lead six minutes later when Caroline Canoy buried a shot into the net, but Canoy was called offsides.
J.B. Marine almost took the lead in the 68th minute. Allyson Milnes started the play with a cross to Ballman who chipped a 10-yarder over the net.
“In the second half, J.B. came out flying and scored within a minute,” SLSG coach Sterling Wescott said. “That changed the game. It put the momentum on their side.”
It was SLSG who controlled the first 40 minutes. J.B. Marine goalkeeper Madison Peyton had to make several early saves to keep SLSG off the board.
SLSG almost scored on a corner in the 23rd minute. Katelyn Evers sent the kick into the box and a Jessica Haller header went off the right post.
SLSG finally broke through two minutes later. Kaylen Sapp started the play with a nice deep ball to Samantha Garvilla, who crossed it to Evers for the chip in to make it 1-0 SLSG.
SLSG was able to ride the momentum into halftime, when it abruptly turned around for J.B. Marine.
“We just knew we had to come back out and put our heads into it,” Evers said about SLSG’s response to J.B. Marine’s goal. “We couldn’t let it get us down.”
The tie leaves SLSG and J.B. Marine in a tie with the other two teams in its pool – CSC Pride 97/98G Blue and Lou Fusz SC – Wayland Red – after one game in State Cup pool play.
CSC and Lou Fusz also battled to a 1-1 draw Saturday. After CSC took the lead in the 21st minute, Lou Fusz’s Madison Orf tied the game with a goal 13 minutes later.
“These tournaments are not won or lost in the first game,” Wescott said. “I’ve been in enough of these to know that you have to play all three games to determine who advances.”
Garabedian said that his J.B. Marine team is notorious for the type of starts it had against SLSG. But Meek knows that with only one team advancing out of their pool, J.B. Marine can’t afford any lapses.
“One thing we need to do is stay focused in warm-ups and focus on how we need to play,” Meek said.
Pool play for girls U15-U18 continues Saturday evening and concludes Sunday.
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