Lady Aces soccer season ends with heartbreaker in Salem
SALEM -- Mount Carmel’s girls soccer team’s season ended in Salem on Monday, as the Lady Aces fell 3-2 to Salem in overtime, falling just short of their first victory of the season with a stroke of bad luck costing Mount Carmel dearly late in the game.
The Lady Aces opened the game with the first score, sophomore Maya Smith knocked a goal into the back of the net off an assist by sophomore Rylie Webb in the eighth minute and giving Mount Carmel a 1-0 lead.
Salem tied the game at 1-1 later in the first half and evened the game up at halftime, setting the stage for either team to seize an opportunity in the second half.
It appeared as if Mount Carmel was the one to take that opportunity when the Lady Aces scored again in the 52nd minute on another Smith goal, her second of the game. It was assisted by Webb once again, but started by a key pass from senior Ally Kendall. With a 2-1 lead heading into the waning minutes, it appeared as if the Lady Aces could break through and claim their first victory and keep their season alive.
Salem changed that in the 72nd minute, scoring a game tying goal on a penalty kick -- another bad break for Mount Carmel in a season full of just some bad breaks for a group who came inches away from several victories.
“That’s kind of been the story of the season in almost all of our games and I’m really proud of the girls for the way they’ve handled so many close losses,” Mount Carmel head girls soccer Ed Berberich said. “There were only two games where we really had no chance of getting the win. All of the rest were close matches that could’ve gone either way if not for just a handful of plays. For that to happen all season as it did, it could have really had a negative impact on their attitudes and effort but for the most part, they kept their positive attitudes and played through it all.”
With the game tied, the two teams entered overtime in a 2-2 draw. Salem broke the tie with three minutes left in the first overtime period, taking their first lead of the game, a lead which would hold.
For the game Mount Carmel took 20 shots, 12 of which came on the frame, created 11 additional scoring chances and had six interceptions. Sophomore goalie Allison Thread had eight saves in the game and her defenders limited Salem to just eight shots, four coming on the frame.
“The girls played hard and moved the ball well, creating a lot of good scoring opportunities,” Berberich said. “They won the possession battle by a wide margin and also had a significant lead both in shots and quality scoring chances. Our back line defenders were also pretty aggressive in trying to intercept incoming passes to the Salem attackers and they were able to start off a lot of attacks from the back. So overall it was a good performance by the whole team.”
The game marked the end of the careers of the Lady Ace seniors, Kendall, Sophie Berberich, Ali Ross, Carli Morris, Trystan Wyatt, Maddy Hodge, Teagan Guard, Taylor Noirfalise and Bryce Peacock. The seniors were instrumental in the founding of the program and were great leaders for the younger girls. Some of the underclassmen will attempt to carry on their legacy in the program’s third year. Though they finished this season winless, they vastly improved and made memories they’ll never forget. Next season they’ll look to continue building success as the program establishes itself and gains its footing.
“They showed a lot of improvement from last year to this season,” Berberich said. “Moving forward, we’ll miss the graduating seniors, but if the returning players stick with it and keep working at their games, we expect to see continued improvement.”