Lady Purples, Lady Gators destined to meet again in the Region 4 tournament
BOWLING GREEN — The Greenwood Lady Gators soccer team found themselves two goals away from relinquishing the District 14 tournament crown away from Bowling Green.
The result was 3-2 win in favor of the Lady Purples, but if the match on Oct. 12 is a vindictive of how the Region 4 championship will go, then these two teams will meet again.
The District 14 title game was a measuring stick for both teams. Greenwood found out, despite a slow start, that it can compete with the team that has had a grip on District 14 and Region 4 the last couple of years.
The key is overcoming a slow start and playing consistent for 80 minutes.
“That second half, we played the game that we wanted to play the whole time,” Greenwood coach Zach Salchli said. “The first half we came out a little slow, a little hesitant.
“It was just a mindset adjustment. We got everybody focused at halftime and kind of got them back into a place where we wanted to play our game. I thought the first half we got away from playing our game. We were starting to play a lot of balls long and trying to play over the top. That’s not really how we play and that’s not what makes us successful.”
Whitaker Buchannan’s two first half goals was ultimately the deciding factor on Bowling Green’s end. Bowling Green junior Emma Kate Widener made it a foregone conclusion, as it seemed, that the Lady Purples were on their way to a 3-0 victory and another district title.
But it was the Lady Gators’ fight that was the story of the second half.
Shortly after Bowling Green noticed its third score, Anna Haddock put Greenwood on the board with a direct kick – with Greenwood’s first goal about two minutes later. The goal was possible after Haddock’s teammate Kylie Tisdale found her open, allowing Haddock to squeak by a Bowling Green defender for a shot on the goal and cutting that lead to 3-1.
Haddock’s score, as she has done all season long, gave life to Greenwood, propelling the offense to be more aggressive as the seconds ticked off in the second half. The Lady Gators shot 12 attempts at the goal while holding the Lady Purples to just 2.
“I was hopeful that we could come back and we were close to it,” Haddock said after the district title game. “We had a lot of chances in the second half.”
Bowling Green played nearly perfect in the opening 40 minutes, notching three goals on six shots.
“(During the) first half (of the District 14 championship game) I thought we played really well,” Bowling Green coach Lisa Correa said. “Second half, it looked like we got a little out of shape and maybe a little tired, trying to work too hard instead of letting the ball do the work. That’s a good team and they’re going to keep coming at you, but I was proud of the way the girls battled until the end to get the win.”
Correa was super pleased with her defense’s effort, especially from her player near the goal. Caroline Miller finished with 11 saves.
“She’s really stepped into the role,” Correa said of her goalkeeper Caroline Miller. “We brought her along perfect I thought, where she wasn’t thrown into the fire super early. She kind of worked her way in there until she felt comfortable and confident and she has done just a great job for us in the goal.”