Senior captain Kaeleigh Smedley scored her team leading 10th goal of the season on a breakaway in the 11th minute to give Elizabethtown an early lead over Daniel Boone on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Daniel Boone’s defense employed an offside trap on defense that worked a plethora of times, but it also gave up seven breakaway opportunities in the first half, including Smedley’s goal. Whether attributed to superb goalie play or poor shot placement, the Bears only put one in the back of the net.
Those seven shots on goal were among the 11 that Elizabethtown fired in the first half, including two from Macy Seaman that bounced off the post. Daniel Boone recorded zero shots and earned two corner kicks in the first half.
Despite leading 1-0 at halftime, coach Keith Renner said that he was very concerned that the Bears did not take advantage of the chances they created for themselves in the opening half.
“Our halftime conversation was about the fact that we were dominating the game, we had multiple opportunities to score goals and we didn’t capitalize on them. One bad bounce, one ball in behind the defense and it could cause problems. That’s what the whole speech was about. We need to get out there and finish,” Renner said.
The offside trap that Daniel Boone’s defense was using was another topic of conversation at halftime for the Bears, one that the players brought up themselves.
“It didn’t even take the coaches. They said, ‘They’re playing an offside trap; we need to know where we’re at on the field and we need to be aware of it.’ I think we probably had more offside calls in the second half than the first half,” Renner said.
The Blazers’ first shot was on goal came in the 52nd minute and it beat Elizabethtown goalie Kaitlyn Snyder to tie the game up at 1-1. Three minutes later, Daniel Boone took a 2-1 lead that they would not reliquish for the remainder of the game.
The one goal loss was Elizabethtown’s 10th such loss of the season. The Bears still maintain a positive goal differential as they’ve scored 33 goals while conceeding 22. That does include two victories over Lebanon by a combined score of 16-1.
Renner said he attributes the losses to an inability to finish and score goals on a consistent basis.
“They’ve just gotta do what they’re trained to do. We’ve been working on finishing and scoring, but we can’t finish and score. Our defense has been doing a great job. If you allow one or two goals a game that should be enough to get you a win or a tie every game. When you score one or zero every game you’re not going to win,” Renner said.
Renner went on to explain that his team knew that a victory over the Blazers would have kept them alive for districts because of their strength of schedule.
“The effort that was out there that we finished with wasn’t from a team of girls that want to continue in the playoffs. We didn’t see it. They’re learning still,” Renner said. “I saw one level of play the whole game. Getting all those breakaways and not finishing them takes some air out of you a little bit. After seeing that over and over again, if you’re a defender, you’re starting to think to yourself, ‘Man, what does it take to get a goal?’ So it wears you down when you miss chances like that. Just like when you score a goal it brings you way up. Unfortunately, our energy kept going in the wrong direction.”