Summerville senior Katelynn Stewart’s first career goal Tuesday night against the Bret Harte Bullfrogs at Thorsted Field couldn’t have come at a better time.
Summerville's Teska Hapig-Ward (above, left) dribbles with Bret Harte's Sam Crabtree defending. Amy Alonzo Rozak / Union Democrat
Her score gave the Bears a 2-0 lead they would hold onto for their first Mother Lode League victory of the 2013 girls’ soccer season.
Roughly seven minutes into the second half, Bear freshman Darian Skellenger received a pass from Teska Hapig-Ward and streaked down the Summerville sideline looking to attack the goal but found Stewart open across the middle.
“Darian was going out wide and I know she has a really good foot so I thought she was going to cross it,” Stewart said. “No one was in the middle so I made that run and had good momentum, trapped it and shot it with the outside of my right foot and it went in the corner.”
Summerville senior Nicole Schultz, a co-captain on the team with Stewart and fellow senior Larissa Barrett, was happy for her longtime teammate.
“That was really exciting because she’s a senior and wanted to score this year and she did it,” Schultz said.
Skellenger also got the assist on her team’s first goal made by Alica Scott about four minutes into the game.
“I really wanted to score before the game and Darian had a great assist,” Scott said. “I just let it hit my foot and knew it was going in before it hit the net, but it was such a great sound to hear it hit and I was so excited that I just couldn’t stop smiling — I still can’t stop smiling.”
Skellenger said her team knew how important a victory was Tuesday night.
“I really wanted to win this,” she said. “All of us came into this game ready to win and get our spirits up.”
The win also avenged Summerville’s 2-0 loss to the Bret Harte earlier in the season. The Bullfrogs controlled possession throughout that game, which is something Summerville head coach Brad Schultz said his Bears have been working on doing themselves.
“This is a young team we’re trying to build up and we’ve been working a lot lately on just trying to possess and connect our passes because we haven’t had much success doing that this year,” said Schultz. “Something clicked with them tonight and they were really working hard. Everybody that stepped on that field played very hard tonight and I’m proud of them all.”
And that extra work put in was clearly on display Tuesday as the Bears moved the ball around well and kept Bret Harte’s keeper on her toes.
Bret Harte head coach Rosie Sundell warned after the Bullfrogs 2-0 win over the Bears on March 14 that the next matchup between the teams could end with the opposite result given the fiercely competitve nature of the MLL.
“We missed some pretty easy opportunities that we should have turned into goals and you can’t do that in this league,” Sundell said on Tuesday. “They (the Bears) didn’t have a ton of shots on goal, but they capitalized on those opportunities. I think they were a little faster and moved the ball better than we did tonight. They clearly wanted this win and came out and played hard to make it happen.”
Bullfrog Diana Munoz praised the efforts of teammates Lauren Redding, a midfielder, and goalkeeper Jessica Stohlman, who made a number of brave saves against attacking Bears.
Munoz said the difference for the Bears tonight was in how much they wanted the victory, but warned that Bret Harte will be motivated to avenge the loss the next time the teams meet April 18.
“I think this loss is going to make us want it more next time,” she said. “We’ll learn from our mistakes and have a better attitude, so I think it’s going to help us.”
Bret Harte (1-4-1 MLL) sits in fifth place in the MLL rankings with Tuesday’s loss.
Bret Harte next hosts league-leading Amador on Thursday at 7 p.m. while Summerville (1-5) hopes to build off its win at Argonaut.
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