MIDDLEBURG – Fans traveling to Sports Boosters Athletic Park in Middleburg with hopes of seeing a game filled with crisp passes, sound defensive play and fluent offense left disappointed Wednesday night.
Both the Midd-West and Williamsport girls soccer teams struggled to find their games as the two squads exchanged off-target passes and turnovers in hopes of pulling out a much-needed win to turn around tough starts to the season.
The Millionaires used an own-goal and a rebound tally to top the Mustangs 2-1 for the Heartland Athletic Conference Division I victory and to improve to 2-4-1 (2-3 HAC-I).
The teams combined to finish with only nine shots on goal. All three goals registered on the scoreboard were results of defensive breakdowns that should have easily been avoided.
The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead after senior Janelle Arbogast collected a loose ball in the box and slid it past keeper Maris Dewald six minutes into the contest. Midd-West (2-4, 1-3 HAC-I) then spent most of the remainder of the contest struggling to produce another good scoring opportunity.
Williamsport scored the equalizer midway through the first half on an own-goal. The Millionaires sent a low corner kick toward the near post before it was knocked into the back of the net by Midd-West defender Jenna Yarger.
Despite the tied score at intermission, the Mustangs looked in control of the contest despite both squads struggling to put passes together and gain an offensive identity, but that was not the case soon after the whistle blew to signal the start of the second half. Midd-West looked nothing like the team that defeated Milton 3-0 only days earlier on the same field.
With just under 20 minutes remaining in regulation, Williamsport was able to score the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal after a scramble in front of the Midd-West goal.
The Millionaires played a ball into the corner of the box that drew goaltender Paige Kauffman off her line. The junior net minder was unable to collect the ball and it was eventually played toward the open goal. After another failed attempt to clear the ball by the Midd-West defense, Williamsport’s Amy Southard blasted it into the open goal.
Arbogast nearly tied the game on two occasions as the clock turned into the Mustangs’ enemy at the end of the contest. With 6:29 remaining she found herself free with the ball near the penalty mark, but could not get off a clean shot as the Williamsport defense forced a corner kick after a deflection.
Three minutes later Midd-West’s last chance to force overtime was pushed over the crossbar by Dewald. Arbogast hit a high, hard shot that Dewald was able to redirect out of play as the home crowd sighed out loud.
Midd-West coach Russ Goodling was issued a red card after arguing about a throw-in call after time had expired.
Goodling elected not to comment on the game or ejection.
Midd-West hosts Juniata on Saturday.