On a rainy Thursday afternoon, the 100th year of Blue & White Athletics officially got underway as the girls’ soccer team opened their league season vs. Long Island Lutheran, coming away with a 5-4 sudden death overtime victory.
The Bears dominated the time of possession for much of the first half as Morgan Ruggieri and Alexis Savage controlled the backfield and fed the speedy forwards up front. It took them just under six minutes to light up the scoreboard when Mindy Yoder sent a beautiful cross from the right side that Sarah Calone tucked into the side netting for a 1-0 lead. At the 26:19 mark, Scarlett Davey scored her first of three goals on the day when Yoder sent another great ball into the middle that skipped past the keeper on the wet grass, allowing the eighth-grader to put it away. Six minutes later, the Bear advantage grew to 3-0 when Yoder got into the scoring herself, finding the net from outside the box to grab what at the time felt like a comfortable lead.
Over the final 20 minutes of the half, LuHi began to force the action on offense. Natalia Oben, in her first match in goal, came up with a pair of impressive saves at the 15:48 and 10:15 marks to keep the attackers at bay for a stretch, but LuHi finally broke through at 9:33 when an uncleared corner kick led to a goal. The Bears still maintained control with a 3-1 edge, but LuHi halved their deficit with just 1:50 remaining in the half, scoring on a free kick from just outside the box to pull within 2-3.
The second half opened much like the first did as the Bears notched a goal less than six minutes in. Yoder once used her speed to streak up the right sideline before sending a beautiful ball to the left post that Davey sprinted onto and tucked home for a 4-2 edge. LuHi refused to be dismayed by the setback as they scored at the 29:27 mark before equalizing at 13:03 on a blistering shot from well outside the box. 4-4. The final 10 minutes of regulation saw both sides earn chances at a late goal, but the defenses stood tall. Oben corralled a tough shot at the 8:03 mark to keep the game level.
The battle moved to overtime which was comprised of two 10-minute, sudden death overtime periods. The Bears dominated possession in the opening overtime period, but could not finish on the scoring opportunities they generated. The tension mounted as a soft, steady rain continued to fall, but the faithful fans lining the track willed the team to break through. In the second extra period, they finally did. Just 48 seconds into the second overtime, the ball skipped past the LuHi defense, allowing Davey to finish her third and most important strike of the day from inside the six-yard box.
The Bears are back in action this afternoon in a home non-league match-up vs. Port Jeff.