Early goals help Verrado hold off Prescott
Originally published: Feb 5, 2014 - 12:00 am
Verrado’s game plan called for it to jump on Prescott early, and that’s just what it did, but Prescott then flipped the script.
It also didn’t help that Verrado stopped charging forward as much as it did in the first couple of minutes, when the No. 2 seed in the Division II state tournament grabbed a 2-0 lead. It would have been 3-0 by the 11th minute, but a sideline official waved off a Verrado goal that appeared to be a legitimate goal.
As Verrado’s scoring chances diminished, Prescott gained confidence, but it couldn’t overcome the early deficit, allowing Verrado to hold on to a 2-1 home victory Wednesday.
“The game was over for sure if we scored on that third goal,” Verrado coach David Hopkinson said. “But we took the foot off the gas pedal.”
Verrado’s softball star, Sierra Smith, threw a ball in that seemed to deflect off a defender first before going in.
But the officials ruled that the ball didn’t touch anybody, negating Verrado’s third goal. Smith’s prints were on her team’s first two goals thanks to her all-around talent and hustle.
On the first goal, Smith, a junior defender, kept a ball from going out of bounds by directing a kick toward Prescott’s goal. Brynn Holderbaum caught up to the ball and beat Prescott’s freshman goalkeeper from short range.
Smith header off a corner kick gave Verrado its final goal of the game in the 7th minute.
“She (Smith) is an unbelievable athlete,” Hopkinson said. “She only plays soccer three months out of the year. She and her twin sister (goalkeeper Shea Smith) are very competitive. They don’t like to lose.”
Verrado doesn’t have a primary goal scoring threat, but it does start a good collection of players that are gamers, Hopkinson added.
Caitlin Young’s set pieces gave Prescott, the No. 15 seed, the best chances to score. The Florida transfer connected in the 56th minute, when her free kick from about 30 yards was ruled a goal after Shea almost kept the ball from crossing the goal line.
Verrado, the No. 2 seed, will host another playoff game on Saturday when it plays No. 7 seed Sabino. A win will clinch Verrado’s third consecutive trip to the state semifinals.
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