For 75 minutes of a 100-minute game, the Free State High girls soccer team sent big blasts and long bombs to the Gardner-Edgerton goal.
In the end, it was the Firebirds’ inability to pull the trigger at crucial times that cost them in a 1-1, double-overtime tie Friday at FSHS.
“If you don’t shoot, you don’t score,” Free State junior Hannah Carlson said. “For some reason, everyone was afraid to shoot the longer the game went on.”
After falling behind, 1-0, on a Gardner-Edgerton goal early on, the Firebirds bounced back quickly when Carlson connected midway through the first half to tie the game at 1-1.
The Firebirds and Blazers took the 1-1 tie into the half and then stayed that way for 60 more minutes.
It’s not that Free State didn’t have its chances. Carlson alone ripped three or four long balls to the net, three of which were saved at the very last second when the Trailblazers’ goalie pushed the high drives above the crossbar.
The Firebirds’ best chance of the final 60 minutes came when Caroline Mayhew found herself alone in the box with the ball at her feet with six minutes to play in regulation.
Instead of taking a quick touch and ripping a shot to the net, Mayhew carried the ball two or three touches too long, giving the goal keeper time to slide in for the save.
“Sometimes we’re just not very good,” FSHS coach Jason Pendleton said. “We have kids who work hard and kids who have great attitudes. But in terms of having kids who can step up and make plays when we need them, sometimes we lack that.”
Although the Firebirds failed to push across the game-winner, they out-chanced Gardner-Edgerton throughout the contest. The few chances the Blazers got, however, nearly made a bad day worse.
With 2:44 to play, Gardner mustered up the strength for one final rush and nearly connected when a shot from the near post rolled just a couple inches wide of the far post.
Despite losing a game he feels his team should have won, Pendleton said he hoped his team would take something positive from responding to the early 1-0 deficit.
“If you’re a glass-half-full guy, that’s a good way to think about it,” Pendleton said. “But this result feels like a loss.”
The tie dropped Free State’s record to 4-6-2. Next up, Free State will play Tuesday at Olathe East.