Watauga's girls' soccer settles for 1-1 tie
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
One girls' soccer coach at Jack Groce Stadium was happy with a 1-1 tie.
It wasn't Watauga coach Brittany Bolick.
Her Pioneers held a 1-0 lead, but Freedom tied the game midway through the second half, and the teams settled for the tie Friday night.
The tie gave the Patriots a 6-7-1 overall record 1-6-1 mark in the Northwestern Conference. It was a much better alternative than a loss to Patriots coach David Fletcher, who has seen his team lose some close games this season.
"That was big for us because we just needed a result," Fletcher said. "We lost in overtime to Fred T. Foard in the second overtime period with four minutes to play. We've lost six conference games by eight goals. We've lost four conference games by one goal and two by two goals. I'm really proud of them for not giving up on the season and for keep working."
Freedom looked like it would face another one-goal loss when Watauga broke a scoreless time with a goal by Abby Carson on an assist by Madi Critcher with 16:12 left in the game. Watauga held an edge in possession in the first half, but did not get a lot of scoring opportunities, nor any goals, to show for it.
It was a bright spot in a game that Watauga's lack of goal production did not represent the time of possession advantage the Pioneers enjoyed.
"It was a great strike, a great hit," Bolick said. "She does so much for us all over the field and we needed that lift. You can't ask for a better shot than that."
The Pioneers (10-2-3, 5-2-1), which had won two straight before tying Freedom, held even a bigger advantage in possession time, but had just Carson's goal to show for it.
Freedom took advantage of that by tying the game with 9:23 left in regulation. Joelle Knoph took a Logan Dunston pass and slipped the ball past Watauga keeper Heather Ostwalt to tie the game 1-1.
Watauga's attack picked up toward the end of the game. The Pioneers had two shots hit the crossbar of the football goalposts that are positioned just behind the soccer goals.
The Pioneers missed on a golden opportunity in the first overtime period when they saw an open goal when Freedom's keeper collided with a Watauga player. But the Pioneers could not convert and had to settle for a tie.
"For us, we're in a mental block to get goals in the back of the net," Bolick said. "A lot of things in this game is skill related, and not that shooting isn't, but a lot of it is the want, the desire, the push, the drive to put the ball in the back of the net. We had a lot of chances early and a lot of chances throughout the game. We dominated the game, but dominating and showing up in the stat book that you were the better team means nothing if you can't put one away."
Watauga returns to NWC play Tuesday at Hibriten. The Pioneers also play at Ashe County on Wednesday.