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Mustangs defense shines in 0-0 game

Midd-West and Lewisburg play two overtimes

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Midd-West's Sydney Yerg (left) heads the ball while Lewisburg's Amelia Kiepke looks on. The game ended in a 0-0 tie when the two teams played in Middleburg on Wednesday.

MIDDLEBURG – Midd-West and Lewisburg battled tooth and nail for 100 minutes but couldn’t decide a winner in a 0-0 tie in the Heartland Conference Division II girls’ soccer match on Wednesday.

Both squads displayed explosive offensive breaks backed by solid defense and stellar goalie play.

“They are a good group. We’re pushing hard, working hard with a new coach and a new system. We’re starting to learn it. We are young. We have three girls with varsity experience,” Midd-West coach Andrew Zechman said. “We’ve been bitten by the injury bug and we started five freshmen tonight, so we’re learning. They are buying into some things in key areas. The main thing we want to work on is getting better each day and they are continuing to do that.”

Midd-West (2-2-3, 1-2-3) had a chance to win the game in the second overtime when Erin Tompkins, who had five shots in the contest, dispossessed the Lewisburg defender and ripped a shot that deflected off the feet of Green Dragon keeper Lauren Gross with 10 seconds remaining.

“Erin will get her chances. She is a very good striker. Again, it’s a new system and a new place we’re putting her at. We are asking new things from her and she’s done very well early on,” Zechman said. “If we continue to link right and build that way, we can be dangerous. We’ve had some tough results early on here, but if we keep focusing on the right things, in the right areas, we’re going to be good.”

Despite the tie, Zechman came away delighted with the effort of his team.

“I’m thrilled with our performance. Lewisburg is always a good team. Anytime they come on the schedule you know you’re going to get a tough 80 minutes,” he said. “They kept pushing and made it difficult for us. We had an opportunity to win in the end. Hats off to our girls to push through for the whole 100 minutes.”

Lewisburg (4-4-1, 2-3-1) controlled the time of possession most of the game and peppered 18 shots on goal. Ella Reish and Taryn Beers led the Green Dragons with four shots each. Goalie Rylee Weaver was the equalizer for the Mustangs with 13 saves.

“That’s a very good team we played. They were the state runner-up from last year. Chloe Michaels, who they have in the back, is phenomenal and Ella Reish, up top, is dangerous. We played with them for 100 minutes and hats off to them; they are a great side,” Zechman said.

The Green Dragons golden opportunity came in the second overtime as well. Beers, left unmarked at the front of the net, received a nifty pass from Sophia Kilbride, but her header went off to the left.

Lewisburg kept up the pressure with wave after wave of offensive attacks. Midd-West held its own with solid defensive play, led by Olivia Inch.

“Our girls are starting to buy-in to the idea that we need to be stronger defensively and as a team,” Zechman said. “Our core in the back, especially senior Olivia Inch, has taken on a leadership role for us and helped some of the other girls in the back keep in better defensive shape.”

The Mustangs had seven shots on goal and Lewisburg took the corner battle 4-2. Gross turned aside five shots for the Green Dragons.

Midd-West hosts Warrior Run on Saturday, September 21. Game time is 11:00 a.m.

Midd-West 0, Lewisburg 0

Shots: Lewisburg 18-7. Corners: Lewisburg 4-2. Saves: L-5 (Lauren Gross); MW-13 (Rylee Weaver).

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