A battle of the defenses broke out Saturday afternoon when the Soccer Hawks matched up with the Steel Flames at Youth Sports Inc.
Despite facing a plethora of shots, both teams capitalized on exceptional play between the pipes leading to the low-scoring affair. What started as a run-and-gun game turned into a defensive chess match as both teams positioned themselves in order to avoid giving up an unwarranted goal.
However, it was a nifty goal off the foot of Steel Flames forward Zach McDermott in the second half that sealed the 2-1 victory over the Soccer Hawks.
"Both teams tried really hard today, but we did a nice job of staying in our positions," said Steel Flames head coach Mark Reiney. "By staying in our spots we were able to prepare for their offense."
Soccer Hawks goalie Holly Hummel opened the game strong. An early offensive flurry by the Steel Flames kept Hummel busy. Steel Flame Brian Tolefree provided the early pressure offensively, putting shot after shot on goal looking for the opening score.
"Brian was strong offensively today," Reiney said. "He was able to get close to seven shots on goal."
However, it was Hummel who blanked the early Flame attack. Hummel was not alone, receiving help from defenders Austin Dominquez and Gabriellia Boor. Dominquez and Boor worked together to stall a potent Flame attack. Dominquez on several occasions came up with the big steal and quickly cleared the ball to his outlet person for the odd-man rush the other way. Boor on the other hand was all over the field, hounding the Flame offense and disrupting several scoring opportunities.
Nonetheless, forwards Tanner Green and Tolefree were able to work together, creating problems for the Soccer Hawk defense. Tolefree was able to sneak his way into position, finding himself in position for several shots on goal.
"Brian did a nice job of getting open," Reiney said. "He was able to put close to seven shots on goal today."
However, it was Green who struck first for the Steel Flames early in the first half. Green was able to slash his way through the defense and buried a one-timer into the back-left corner of the goal.
Both defenses stiffened the rest of the half, holding steady at a 1-0 Steel Flames halftime lead.
However, the Soccer Hawks benefited off of better oranges, scoring in the opening minutes of the second half. Forward Lewis Graham connected on a pass from Hannah Walter, putting the Soccer Hawks on the board. Walter continued to put pressure on the Steel Flame defense, nearly connecting on a breakaway goal late in the game.
Instead, Steel forward McDermott was able to break from a crowd of defenders and sneak a goal past the keeper for the 2-1 Steel Flame lead. Second-half goalie Green was able to stop the Soccer Hawk attack long enough to preserve the 2-1 Steel Flame win.