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Archive for Sunday, April 10, 2005

Double trouble for FSHS

Firebirds dealt second double-overtime defeat this week

April 10, 2005

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Dejvu all over again.

Free State High's 1-0 loss Saturday to Olathe Northwest in girls soccer was eerily similar to its defeat Tuesday night at the hands of Lawrence High.

Both games were pushed to double overtime and ended with Firebird goalie Megan Hrenchir on the ground, collecting her thoughts as Free State (0-4) remained winless.

"We exhibited that we can physically compete," Free State coach Jason Pendleton said of his team's consistent execution. "We definitely improved from the LHS game from a tactical perspective."

Free State had a golden opportunity to light the scoreboard first with 27:12 left in regulation. Freshman forward Alexa Moreno sent a beautiful entry pass ahead to fellow freshman Leah Williams. But when Williams spun her head toward the goal after taking possession, she collided with Northwest goalkeeper Megan Brown while shooting. As the two fell to the grass, the ball trickled just to the right of the goal.

Seven minutes later, Hrenchir kept the Ravens from doing just the same. Northwest's Alexandria Boyce got a clean look from close range, but Hrenchir made a diving save while flying to her right.

The last scoring opportunity for either team in regulation came with just less than a minute left, when Northwest's Keeley Lambeth got a free kick after a foul on FSHS junior defender Banaka Okwuone, who was solid all day as the Firebirds' last line of defense.

Lambeth put a perfect strike on the ball, but Hrenchir extended up to the crossbar to poke the ball over the goal and force overtime.

Free State's last clean look came with 8:47 to go in the first overtime when Moreno took a shot from the right wing after a short corner kick, but the ball was swatted away by Brown.

"I saw flashes of some real positive things," Pendleton said. "We created some dangerous scoring opportunities."

In the first minute of the second overtime, the Ravens put up a shot from out in front. Hrenchir extended while back-pedaling, knocked the ball up and it hit the crossbar. When the ball came down, it deflected off Hrenchir, who dove for the ball just as Lambeth went for the putback.

Lambeth corralled the ball, and tumbled into the goal along with her shot for the game-winner.

The Firebirds will try again for their first win of the season Tuesday at home against Shawnee Mission North.

Despite the winless record, Pendleton pointed out that things are beginning to come together for his young squad, which is relying heavily on freshmen and sophomores.

No one took the loss harder than Hrenchir, who remained face-down in the grass for a couple of minutes while Northwest celebrated, but her improved play has stood out, even if it's not showing in the win column.

"It's tough, whether it's her fault or not," Pendleton said. "And it wasn't her fault. She didn't make a mistake, and everyone knows that. She's been solid, and it's great to see her mature."

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