Lady Patriots hold off Sparkman in soccer rivalry match-up
By Caleb Odom (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HARVEST — In a soccer match that had plenty of scoring, it was the Bob Jones Lady Patriots who found a way to hold off Sparkman 3-2 on Thursday, March 9.
Bob Jones counted on a 2-goal effort by Katie Laferrera, while Sparkman had two goals by Faulkner University commit, Casey Davis.
“The first half, we were pretty solid,” Bob Jones head coach Luke Oakley said.
“I thought we controlled the game, but the second half was not in control. I thought the second half, we were lucky to get away with this one.”
This match was tightly contested and both sides had moments of joy followed by high drama that caused frustration.
Davis gave Sparkman the early 1-0 lead in the 11’ minute.
Bob Jones had an opportunity to tie the match when Niqui Malegni was taken down and awarded a penalty kick in the 12’ minute.
But it was not to be as Malegni was stoned by Lady Senator goalkeeper Audrey Edwards.
Bob Jones did answer in the 21’ minute when Laferrera bagged her first goal of the match to make it 1-1.
It was right before halftime when Davis struck again for Sparkman to break the deadlock and make the score 2-1 Lady Senators in the 38’ minute.
In the 40’ minute, Sparkman’s junior Chelsey Curtis was taken down near the front of the goal and given a penalty kick.
Curtis was stopped by Bob Jones netminder, Catrina Holschen, who stood on her head when it mattered most.
In the 43’ minute it was that Laferrera girl once again in the right place at the right time to collect another goal to knot the score at 2-2.
“A lot of that was my teammates around me,” Laferrera said.
“The first goal; that was Ebba’s goal. (Ebba Detulleo) She gave the cross and I was just there to finish it. And then the second one, again she gave me a beautiful ball and I was able to touch it through. It really was a pretty good moment.”
Another Lady Patriot who stood out in this game was the aforementioned Niqui Malegni, who had to get worked up a little bit to scorch the back of the net for the game-winning goal.
Malegni took a slide tackle that left her limping around and she was subbed out.
The Bob Jones junior was upset to the point that was crying on the sideline in frustration.
But the Lady Patriot coach Oakley was not worried about the girl who hits all of the crazy shots in practice when the camera is not running.
He knew that Malegni was about to unload on Sparkman.
“When she gets mad, that’s when she plays at her best,” Oakley said.
Still bummed out about missing the penalty kick earlier, Malegni returned to the game and the ball found her.
“I was kind of off the whole game,” Malegni said.
“But then Peyton played me through behind the defenders. And then I cut it and had the shot over the keeper that kind of boosted my self-esteem.”
Her No. 7 jersey whipping in the cold wind, Malegni uncorked a rocket of a shot in the 64’ minute that darted passed a lunging Edwards to hand Bob Jones the 3-2 lead.
Time was running out and Sparkman needed to make something happen and Lady Senator senior Chelsea Moore was possibly the girl to do just that.
“When I got the ball, I was like I didn’t want them to get the ball back and go score on us,” Moore said.
“So I was ‘ok, let me take it to the corner and see if I can get a cross off.’ It ended up looking more like a shot, but I saw my teammate Jayda (Davis), the center striker, she was open in the middle. I was trying to get the ball to her, but it fell into the keeper’s hands.”
Moore’s final charge came with just a couple of minutes to play, so the huge diving save by Holschen essentially, put the game out of reach.
“I thought my kids did a really good job of executing our gameplan,” Sparkman head coach Samuel Tidmore said.
“But you have got two good teams. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way and I think there are some things we need to work on to get better.”
Both schools next enter spring break with Bob Jones playing host to Buckhorn on March 24 at 7 p.m. while Sparkman welcomes Randolph on March 21 at 5 p.m.
These two rivals will meet each other again this season on April 4 at Madison City Stadium.