Stretched too far wide offensively and unable to keep pace with the speedy forwards of the Sauras in the first half defensively, the Lady Villains found themselves in a 3-0 hole in the opening 20 minutes of last nights Northwest Conference match-up with South Stokes.
The second half was a different story though, as the Villains played with much more fire and were able to put two goals on the board (both courtesy of leading scorer Samantha Walsh), but simply ran out of time while hunting for the equalizer, allowing the Sauras to escape with a 3-2 win.
The game began ominously in the first half after Sauras forward Leah Smith was dragged down from behind in the penalty box, resulting in a penalty kick that Smith converted just five minutes into the game. Shortly after, Smith would be involved in the game again as she hit a near perfect corner kick to the back post that landed right on the foot of teammate Taylor Rothrock, who put it past the Villains freshman goalkeeper, Kim Molen.
The Sauras continued to control the pace of the game by stifling the Villains offensive attacks and trying to counterattack out of their own end by using the long ball and attempting to get the speedy Brittney Finney in a foot race with the slower Villains back line. In the 18th minute, that strategy paid off as Finney got behind the defense and slipped a quick shot underneath the diving Molen for her second goal of the half.
At the break, Villains Coach George Kennedy settled the team down and got them back to playing their brand of soccer, allowing powerful Walsh to become a factor by giving her open space to work. It paid immediate dividends in the second half as Walsh took a cross from Caroline Valitutto (one of two seniors honored on senior night), dribbled to her left and buried a shot past Sauras keeper, Taylor Jones.
The game began to open up over the final 30 minutes as the Villains threw more players forward, desperately trying to find the final two goals needed to level the game. This resulted in a number of chances both ways, but the Villains defense stood tall, led by freshman Gina Koesters, who, with help from teammate Caroline Rose, was able to keep a lid on the Saura counterattack.
Late in the contest, a foolish handball in the penalty area by a Saura defender allowed Walsh to convert her second goal of the game and get the Villains back within a goal. That set off a mad scramble over the final three minutes as the Sauras desperately tried to stave off the Villain rushes, finally being saved by the bell as the clock wound down to zero with the Villains in possession of the ball near the Saura goal.
The loss drops the Villains record to 11-4-2 overall and 7-4 in league play. They'll wrap up their regular season schedule tonight when they take on the Cardinals of East Surry.