Northern struggles to control the ball leading to a 2-0 loss to visiting Leaside Lancers
Two quick plays by Leaside led to the Northern Red Knights demise in Tier 1 girls soccer April 21.
Losing 2-0 in South Region play, Red Knights coach Julian Heller said it was a series of missed opportunities on the offence that rusted their armor.
“In soccer games there are ebbs and flows, it just depends on who has energy at any one moment,” he said. “We tried to generate a little bit of offence near the end with putting an extra forward up, but didn’t really manage to make a dent in Leaside’s defence.”
From the initial first-half kickoff Leaside controlled the ball well enough to stress Northern’s defenders.
Causing most of the grief was the three-pack of Leaside strikers Stephanie Petsis, Christine Phillips and Julia Babic.
Still, Lancers coaches shouted for better passing from the sidelines. There was also a brief scare when Petsis took a bouncing ball right in the face.
Co-coach Patty Bontis commended her charges for picking up their second win in as many games, but said there is still work to be done.
“Overall they did well, but I think they could have played a little bit better,” she said. “They were not as consistent as I wanted them to be.
“The passing was okay, but their finish was not,” she added. “If anything they need to work on their finish.”
Northern’s offence was muted by the Lancers onslaught, only managing their first shot, by Anita Mall, 20 minutes into the first half.
Then the rain came to end the half, leaving both teams goalless.
The sun-shower seemed to wash away Leaside’s jitters as they finally cracked Northern’s armor.
Managing to stop Thalia Petsis’ shot, a rebound was still coughed up, one that Stephanie Petsis jumped on.
An additional marker came after a Petsis penalty shot, which was saved, but Phillips latched onto the loose ball and buried it into the mesh.
A midpoint pep talk, said Bontis, was a contributing factor.
“When we see that they’re not playing as well as we think they should, we try to encourage them,” she said. “We talk to them at halftime to make some changes. It worked because they did score.”
Bontis added the play of Babic was also appreciated.
Though the loss was not what Northern was looking for, there were some highlights. Heller would not spotlight any of his charges, but commented on the team’s cohesion.
“They’re all working hard, and whether they’re in grade 12 or grade 9, everyone is progressing along really quickly,” he said. “It’s a very short season so we don’t have a long time to work out the kinks.”
The Red Knights looked to forge ahead against Ursula Franklin Academy Flames April 26. Results were not known at press time.