SOCCER: Missed opportunities haunt Polk in 2-1 loss to Hendersonville

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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By Jed Blackwell


Early in Tuesday’s game against Hendersonville, Polk County’s girls soccer team had a narrow miss, nearly taking a lead just 90 seconds into the contest.

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Unfortunately for the Wolverines, it was the first of many. Polk County couldn’t capitalize on a number of good chances, falling to the Bearcats 2-1.

“You have to keep the ball a little bit longer,” Polk County coach Lennox Charles said. “You could tell we got a little bit slower because we were having to work a little bit harder, and that ratio just doesn’t work. You can’t keep working that hard all the time and then only have the ball for 30 seconds. You have to make them work to get the ball back.

“We finally started doing that a little more at the end, and got a few more balls through. But you can’t question the effort, we just need to be a little more composed at times and efficient in front of goal.”

With starting keeper Maggie McCammon out, the Wolverines (0-1-3) used two keepers in senior Maggie Johnson, who played the first half, and freshman Cate Brown, who played the second. Both played well, though both allowed a goal. The first staked Hendersonville (2-2) to a 1-0 lead at 30:16 of the first half.

Polk County looked poised to respond, but could never get a ball home. Gabby Savaia fired a shot wide at the 25-minute mark. A cross from Caroline Taylor to Jessica Baird was knocked away. Savia looked to be fouled on a breakaway with 10 minutes left in the first, but the call didn’t come.

The Wolverines’ best chance in the first came when Charley Dusenbury dribbled past a defender, faked out the Hendersonville keeper and rolled a shot past through a partial deflection – a shot that was just far enough that Dusenbury couldn’t get to it to drive it home, and just slow enough for a Hendersonville defender to frantically knock it away, agonizingly close to knotting the score.

The Wolverines had chances in the second half, too, before Hendersonville notched another score with 15:19 to play. Polk County did score on Savaia’s goal on an assist from Hayden Blackwell, but the Bearcats didn’t allow another good chance in the final 4:30 to take the win.

“We really had two or three chances where we should have scored,” Charles said. “Gabby’s was close, and we should have finished two in the second half. If we can just be a little more efficient, if we score, it picks us up. If we get an early goal in the second half and tie the score up, I think that last 15 minutes is completely different.”