September 11, 2009 9:42:00 AM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
STEENS -- There are no timeouts in soccer.
The fluidity in the action forces coaches to rely on players to adjust tactics and styles of play in the flow of a match.
Sometimes, though, it doesn''t hurt to receive a little assistance.
Mother Nature provided just the respite the Heritage Academy girls soccer team needed Thursday night.
A stoppage of play due to lightning in the area late in the first half gave the Lady Patriots a chance to regroup.
Once action resumed, Heritage Academy scored three goals in 14 minutes to turn a deficit into a lead that it held on to en route to a 3-1 non-district victory against Immanuel Christian.
Cara Pridmore had two goals and Tori Fields added another to help Heritage Academy improve to 4-4.
Heritage Academy coach Krisi Boren joked after the game that the Lady Patriots might have been blessed to receive the stoppage in play. The break gave her a chance to encourage her players to raise their energy level and aggressiveness, and the Lady Patriots responded.
"I was really frustrated and told them we either play and pick it up or we go home," Boren said. "I tell them all of the time it is so hard to stand on the sidelines and see them play that way knowing that we are so much better."
Immanuel (2-4) took the play to Heritage Academy in the first part of the first half. The Lady Rams were more aggressive and quicker to 50-50 balls, which allowed them to press deep into the attacking third of the field.
The aggressiveness paid off when Taylor Baudoin blocked an attempted clearance and followed the rebound in toward goal. She collected the loose ball and crossed it from the right to the left side of the box where Haley Good cleaned up for a 1-0 lead.
It wasn''t until after the break for lightning that Heritage Academy took a page from Immanuel and raised its energy level.
One minute into the final 14 minutes of the first half, goalkeeper Taylor Kidder saved a shot by Elena Marchak. The rebound trickled away, which allowed Pridmore to tuck it home to tie the match.
The teams exchanged scoring opportunities the rest of the first half.
Immanuel''s Baudoin hit the post off the restart following the goal.
Kidder smothered a shot by Fields.
Heritage Academy goalkeeper Stephanie Cruse twice came off her line to collect loose balls and deny Meghan Cooper potential shots on goal.
But Heritage Academy finally broke the deadlock, using a goal by Fields off an assist from Ashley Brooks to take a 2-1 lead.
A second goal by Pridmore off an assist from Katy Whitman gave the Lady Patriots a two-goal cushion at halftime.
Heritage Academy maintained its work rate in the second half, particularly on defense.
Emily McConnell led a spirited backline that didn''t allow the Lady Rams much space to maneuver. In fact, McConnell erased several potential scoring chances by moving forward and breaking up passes and runs toward goal.
McConnell said the Lady Patriots used the break in action in the first half to shake off their lackluster play. She said the team has struggled with slow starts and is finding a way to deliver focused, aggressive efforts for 80 minutes.
"Our true team can beat any team to the ball," McConnell said. "I believe we have to be aggressive, and that is the team we''re working up to be. I believe if we would play like that for every minute of every game that we could beat any team or at least hang in there with all of those good teams."
Boren chastised her team for not playing up to its potential last week in a loss to Starkville Academy. She said after that loss that she would find an answer to the team''s inconsistent play.
Even though the Lady Patriots haven''t solved their dilemma, Boren said the Lady Patriots are getting closer to believing they can play at a high level against any opponent for 80 minutes.
"It has been hard this year," said Boren, whose team moved up in division after playing for a state title last year in a lower classification. "I do care about these girls, and I do love these girls. ... I do believe in them, and I do believe that God has given them a talent, and I tell them all of the time to play hard because God has given them the talent and not let it be wasted."
Immanuel had plenty of chances to cut into the deficit in the second half. Rachel Strickland, Cooper, and Elizabeth Cook created the best chances for the Lady Rams.
Heritage Academy also had its chances to extend the lead, but Kidder played well in goal to keep it 3-1 before lightning was sighted in the area late in the match.
The officials stopped the match with 15 minutes remaining.
Despite the loss, Immanuel coach Ray Campbell was pleased with his team''s performance. He said shot or two to the corners and not at the goalkeeper in the second half could have helped turn the momentum.
"The first 30 minutes we really were on," Campbell said. "We had a couple out sick, but that is no excuse because we did an excellent job. We were ready to play, but we came in from the lightning break and I don''t know if we got our heads out of it for a minute, but we let them come out quick and get two on us."
Heritage Academy plays host to Immanuel at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
n Central Academy 3 Kemper Academy 1: At DeKalb, Alex Dawkins and Lillian Lindsey combined in the circle to help the Lady Vikings (17-5, 7-0 district) clinich the top seed and an automatic berth in the North Half State tournament at the end of the month.
Dawkins (3-0) started and earned the victory, while Lindsey (double) earned the save.
Corey Dawkins, Kellie Hailey, Kendall Taylor, and Marion Colvin also singled for Central Academy, which allowed just two hits and committed only one error.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.