VINCENT — On the heels of a sub-standard first half performance, the Marietta girls soccer team controlled possession for the final 40 minutes.
Perhaps the gist of the halftime talk given by the Tiger coaching staff to their players should be discussed during pregame as well.
Thursday evening at Warren High School, Marietta erased a one-goal deficit at intermission and scored three unanswered goals in the final 40 minutes to defeat the Warriors 3-1.
“At halftime, all the coaches had some better thoughts on what we could do in the second half,” Marietta coach Bill Mannix after the Tigers improved to 4-1. “The girls realized they didn’t play to their standards in the first half. They decided they would pick up the pace in the second half considerably and that’s what they were able to do.”
Warren senior Payton Alloway accounted for the only scoring in the first half after converting a pass delivered by Sophie Cochran. Alloway had another close-range scoring opportunity go by the wayside when she was unable to convert a penalty kick saved by Marietta keeper Leigha Lauer with 7:41 remaining in regulation and keep the match square at 1.
The Warriors were unable to extend their winning streak to three and dropped to 4-3.
“We played much better in the first half than we did in the second half,” said Warren coach Andrew Pinkerton. “I think we let our stress levels get too high and played too tense to be able to work the ball together like we typically do.
“If we would have been able to convert the penalty kick, that would have been a huge momentum shift for us, especially because we weren’t passing the ball very well. The keeper did a great job picking the right angle on Payton’s shot. Payton scored our first goal, and will probably score close to 20 goals for the regular season. She will make up for it. She is a strong kid.”
Marietta senior Katie Mannix put Marietta on the right footing with the team’s first goal in the second half. At the 30:14 mark, she delivered her shot from some 20 yards out to tie the match at 1.
Warren played with its backs to the net for a majority of the second half, and the Tigers finally capitalized for a second time when Izzy Riggs headed in a rebound off a missed shot, which originated from teammate Katelyn Schenkel’s corner kick with 6:31 showing on the clock.
Unable to come up with the equalizer, Warren allowed a third goal in the final minute. With a defender draped all over her, Riley Medley dribbled down to the goal line and sent a crossing pass to Schenkel for the shot into the middle of the net at the 38-second mark
Schenkel suffered an ACL and meniscus tear 14 months ago. She wears a protective brace during matches, but stated the rehab is oomplete. The mental side of the injury was the most difficult part of the recovery process.
“The rehab was so much a mental battle than a physical batle,” Schenkel said. “In the back of my mind, I just wanted to be as good as I was. It is such a good feeling to know you are finally there after all that hard work.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to be back. These girls are my family and it is such a cool experience to be with them.”
On the flip side, Warren’s season has been populated with injuries. Over the course of seven matches, six different players have experienced an injury, including two members who may miss the rest of the season.
“We basically have had six different starting lineups this season, so the girls really haven’t had the opportunity to gel together and play in the same formations,” Pinkerton said. “We were missing two starters tonight. It’s one of those things, it changes the dynamics a little bit. It is what it is and we need the next person to step up. We fought hard — we just put ourselves in more damaging situations at the end of the game.”
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org