SOCCER: Second-half strikes push Wolverines past Hilltoppers

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Two second-half goals – one early, one late – provided the winning margin Monday for Polk County in a 3-1 victory over R-S Central on W.J. Miller Field.

Wolverine head coach Lennox Charles felt that never should have been the case.

“I asked the girls, what was the biggest reason that we had to fight so hard in the second half?” Charles said. “They said, well, we didn’t attack them. And eventually, a couple of people said, we didn’t put them away.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I said exactly. It should have been at least three or four to one at halftime, and if we’re up three to one, it’s a completely different game. When you get a chance, you have to put teams away, and we did not do that in the first half.”

Polk County (6-3-3, 4-2) did finally subdue the Hilltoppers (2-4-2, 2-4) in the final 40 minutes. Jessica Baird played a key role in that, scoring both of the Wolverines’ second-half goals.

The first of those came just more than a minute into the second half, with R-S Central whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area. That gave Polk a penalty kick, which Baird took and converted to snap a 1-1 halftime tie.

Baird then tallied again in the final minute of the half, receiving a nice pass down the right sideline from Charley Dusenbury and striking a chip off the wing that cleared the R-S goalkeeper and settled in the left side of the goal.

Dusenbury gave Polk a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute of the first half, scoring off a pass from Hayden Blackwell, but the Hilltoppers answered in the 14th minute and kept the score even until the break.

Helping keep the score deadlocked was Polk’s combination in goal of senior Mahhie Johnson and freshman Cate Brown. With starter Maggie McCammon out indefinitely due to an ankle injury, Charles has been rotating both players in goal, building experience in case McCammon can’t return.

“The good thing, which is what I wanted, is to have both of them be on the field,” Charles said. “Because if McCammon goes down, you put one of them in and the other one never gets to play, then the other one gets a yellow card or banged up, now you have a third person going in who has zero confidence.

“I think it has worked out pretty well. Both of them have stepped up and done the job.”