BRANDON — The Otter Valley Union High School girls’ soccer team and senior goalie Erin Trombley kept visiting Woodstock at bay for 40 minutes on Tuesday, but the Wasps erupted for three goals in the first 12:21 of the second half on the way to a 4-0 win.
The Otters had chances, too: Wasp goalie Lizzy Miller made six saves, two Wasp defenders made goal-line stops, and a shot by sophomore forward Lauren Nesshoever hit the crossbar as the second half opened. One of the Wasp defensive saves followed on the rebound of that shot.
First-year OV coach David Brown saw his team fall to 1-12 heading into Thursday’s home game with Fair Haven, a team the Otters defeated on the road on Oct. 5, 4-1.
Brown said the difference on this past Tuesday was that the Otters couldn’t put their first-half and early second-half chances in the net, and that after a more even first half the Wasps took over after the break despite Trombley’s 14 saves.
“We had lots of opportunities. We just need to capitalize on them. To me, that’s what was decisive. They sent girls forward and constantly pressured our keeper. Erin played fantastic, but when they have 18 shots on goal, it’s going to fall in,” he said. “I feel they came out in the second half looking to score, and we came out in the second half just hoping we could score.”
Other factors were the Wasps’ decided edges at midfield, where they used four midfielders to the Otters’ three, and in the related categories of winning 50-50 balls and being first to loose balls. While the Otter front line of Nesshoever, a sophomore, and freshmen Jess Frazier and Taylor Aines created problems for the Wasps when they gained possession, Woodstock simply had the ball more often.
“They definitely possessed the midfield a little more than us, and that opened up a lot more opportunities for their attack,” Brown said.
Early on, the Wasps’ Morgan Hill was alone with Trombley on the right side of the box, but with Trombley out to cut down the angle, Hill’s shot hit the left post.
OV’s first chance came when middie Danielle Anderson made a strong run down the right side and served to Nesshoever, but Wasp sweeper Brooke Gilbreath disrupted the play.
In the 13th minute, all three OV forwards buzzed around the Wasp net, and a rebound bounced out to the 18. Anderson struck a shot past the goalie toward the left side of the net, but a defender cleared it off the goal line.
Woodstock began to press, and in the 19th minute Felicia Neuhof hit the crossbar. In the 28th minute, Trombley saved a long drive by Katie Murphy, two minutes later she snared a point-blank deflection that was ticketed for the top of the net, and in the 33rd minute Trombley dove to deny Hill’s low shot.
At the other end, Frazier made a bid that sailed wide after nice combination work with Nesshoever. In the half, OV defenders Courtney Brown, Hannah White, Steph Giard and Alicia Jankosky also all made plays.
As the second half opened, OV pressed early. Nesshoever controlled on the left side, moved to the middle and drilled a 20-yard shot that beat Miller and hit the bottom of the crossbar. The ball bounced high out front, and Aines headed it toward the right corner. But Gilbreath came across to knock the bid wide, and the Wasps soon went to work.
At 33:23, they made it 1-0. Gilbreath boomed a long direct kick from near midfield that bounced over Trombley to a knot of players at the right post, one of whom, Murphy, tapped the ball in.
Trombley soon after made a nice stop on Neuhof, but on the following corner kick Gilbreath lofted the ball to the far post, where an unmarked Neuhof headed it in to make it 2-0 at 30:26.
At 27:39, Meg Emmons knocked home a rebound to complete the Wasp surge. The Wasps added a late goal by Melissa Croft.
The Otters start just four seniors, and Brown remains optimistic for the future.
“We have a fantastic front line, and the oldest one is a sophomore,” he said. “There are good things to come.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.