Van Horn’s girls soccer team couldn’t have asked for a better start.
But the Falcons couldn’t keep that momentum going or regain it Wednesday against O’Hara, falling 2-1 in an Summit Christian Academy's SCA Cup tournament game at Van Horn High School. The game was moved Wednesday from SCA’s grass field to Van Horn’s turf field due to heavy early morning rains.
The suddenly host Falcons earned a corner kick barely more than a minute into the contest, and Ashley Martin converted Hannah Bishop’s boot into a goal.
But after that, Van Horn spent large chunks of the first half and much of the second half on its heels, struggling to clear the ball out or possess out of its zone through the midfield.
The Falcons created a handful of chances late in the second half, but Martin and Bishop had their shots handled by O’Hara goalkeeper Ciru Franklin (three saves).
“We’re a young team and we’re building our strategy,” Falcons coach Matt Tracy said after his team fell to 2-4. “We started connecting passes. We tried a mixture of putting the deep and trying to use our speed, and possessing.
“The defense let down a little bit in the second half. I felt our defense did great the first half. Credit to them for keeping their shape, though they did slip through once.”
O’Hara (1-2) got the equalizer in the 18th minute, as Kenzie Champion angled a 12-yarder inside the far left post. The Celtics took the lead in the 58th minute when Mackenzie Clark got possession atop the penalty box, found Stephanie Rieger on the right wing and Rieger punched it in.
“They were really fast, and we struggled to stay with them,” Martin said, adding that the Falcons got a bit deflated after the go-ahead goal. “We needed another (good) thing to happen.”
O’Hara got off 17 shots, 11 of them on goal, to Van Horn’s five. Van Horn goalkeeper Dalanie Krogman made eight of her nine saves in the second half, including a couple sprawling grabs to keep the Falcons either tied or in position to tie.
“This being just our third game, what we’ve been emphasizing is passing, finding feet, moving the ball as a unit and counterattacking,” O’Hara coach Mary Haggerty said.
“That game, as far as passing, was our best. We’ve got to work at finishing, but their goalie made some nice saves.”
Tracy also lauded his goalie’s effort.
“She’s learning to move better,” he said of Krogman. “We worked on that the other day, and she’s learning to handle the ball and not let it do anything funny on her.”
Van Horn is scheduled to play Pleasant Hill next in the tournament, at 5:15 today at Summit Christian in the fifth-place game.