When Marriotts Ridge’s senior midfielder Alex Price set up to take a penalty kick in hopes of giving her team its first lead of the game, she thought about how she has been in this situation countless times before, especially in another sport that she plays.
“I’m a basketball player too, so [penalty kicks] are kind of like free throws. It’s one of those things where it’s all on you but you should be able to put it into the back of the net,” said Price. “You just stand there, clear your head and say ‘I’ve practiced this, I know where I want the ball to go and I’ve done this before.’ You clear out all of the sounds and put it into the net as best you can.”
From the moment she placed the ball on the ground, Price knew which way she was going to shoot the ball but she isn’t going to share that information with anyone.
“I think every player has that side that they always want to go to but I don’t want to give that away,” said Price with a smile.
She calmly fired the ball past the outstretched arms of Centennial goal keeper Erica Albornoz (nine saves) to put the host Mustangs ahead for good in a 2-1, come-from-behind victory over the Eagles in Howard Count action on Tuesday evening.
“Alex Price was the one that I chose to take the [penalty kick] because she is one of our captains. She is very focused and can kind of tune everything out and make sure it goes in.” said Marriotts Ridge head coach Robin Grey.
Freshman Ruthie Lucas scored midway through the first half, sliding the ball past Mustang goalie Kristine Mumby (three saves) to give Centennial a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles (3-2 overall, 1-1 county), with strong play from defenders Jordan Coburn, Simone Jackson and a host of others, played aggressive defense and kept Marriotts Ridge (3-0-1, 3-0) from getting any good shots in the opening 20 minutes.
“In the first half, we did a great job of closing down space and making it difficult for Marriotts Ridge to connect passes in the middle of the field,” said Centennial coach Steven Baxter. “In turn, we were able to keep good ball possession and create some good offensive opportunities.”
He added: “In the second half, we didn’t continue closing down space which led to consistent pressure in our half of the field from Marriotts Ridge throughout much of the second half.”
In the second half, the Mustangs kept plugging away until midway through the half, they finally broke through.
Still trailing 1-0, senior forward Maxine Brewer finally found a little daylight and pushed a shot into the goal with just over 24 minutes left to play to tie the score. Hailey Whiting assisted on the game-tying score.
“This [win] is a great start to the rest of our season,” said Brewer. “This was a big game for us and having the win, hopefully means good things for our team this year.”
10 minutes later, a tripping penalty was called on the Eagles inside of the box. Price sank the penalty kick to set up the win and kept the Mustangs unbeaten so far on the season.
“We came out extremely flat in the first half,” said Grey. “Centennial came with heart and came to win. The girls got a little chat at half and they picked up the intensity. They started playing their game and ultimately, that’s what finished it off.”
|No. 18 Marriotts Ridge 2, No. 20 Centennial 1|
C-Lucas; MR-Brewer, Price.
C-Albornoz 9; MR-Mumby 3.