Last Monday the Lady Maroon Spartans took on cross-town rival Anderson at Anderson. This was the second meeting of the year for these two teams. The first was a 1-0 victory for Anderson. This game had the mood set just right, under the lights and many in attendance. Both teams came out looking to best the other. I don’t know if it was beating your friends, possibly all the young men in the stands, or the rowdy excited crowd, but both teams were playing at a neck breaking pace. At first I thought this might be a disadvantage for the Spartans as they only had 2 subs. I quickly realized in a Turpin VS Anderson game that the ADRENALINE level is through the roof. Getting tired is not an option!!!
The Lady Spartans also started the game without 2 starting defenders Ceci Malagari and Ally Long. Cate Ward and Sydney Orth would step in to play defense alongside regulars Sophie Bartholomew and Emma Young. With the help of goalie Madison Wesley this group would help pitch the third shutout of the season, and what I believe to be the best. All five girls stepped up their level of play.
This game would be my favorite of the season so far. Was it a perfectly played game with razor sharp passes and flawless execution of a game plan? Absolutely not, but the shear desire and heart of the Lady Spartans had me on the edge of my seat. Like I said the start of the game was fast and furious with both teams going back and forth. Anderson at the 24 minute mark would get the first chance as they got some space, but goalie Madison Wesley alertly came out to clear the ball at the 18. The 22 minute mark would have Turpin getting a chance as Sophie Bartholomew let a long shot go that would find the Anderson goalie. Exactly one minute later Madison Wesley would make a diving save of an Anderson shot. The 11 minute mark would have Emma Young stepping in to block a shot by Anderson from the 18 yard box. With 3 minutes left in the first half Turpin would have their only breakdown on defense as they let Anderson get 1 on 1 with goalie Madison Wesley. Luckily, and sometimes it’s ok to be lucky the Anderson forward yanked the shot and found the left post. The score would remain 0-0 at half.
The second half had Turpin coming out with great ball movement that yielded a nice cross in by Christina Mickey, but found the goalies hands. The 25 minute mark would have 3 handball calls in a row. I believe the girls forgot how to use their feet for a minute. The third handball was on Turpin and set up a scary shot from 25 yards out for Anderson. I got worried, but there was no need as Andersons shot found the hands of Turpin goalie Madison Wesley. One minute later Turpin would win a free kick of their own. Ella Tierney would be called on to take the kick. Ella struck the free kick high and hard, but just out of the reach of Christina Mickey’s head ball attempt. With 15 minutes left Natalie Wilson made a nice run down the middle of the field, but lost the ball to some aggressive Anderson defenders. The 10 minute mark would have Christina Mickey winning Turpin a free kick as she was taken down at the 25 yard line. Ella Tierney the free kick specialist was called on again to have a go at it. Ella hit a high bullet shot, but was denied by a leaping Anderson goalie that made a nice save of the shot.
With 7 minutes left in the game Anderson would have another wonderful opportunity to score. Anderson would catch the Turpin defense being aggressive pushing forward to help create scoring chances. Anderson played a ball to their forward cherry picking the 50 yard line to stay on sides. With a 5 to 10 yard head start, the Anderson forward charged at Turpin goalie Madison Wesley. This is when Sydney Orth may have made the play of the season as she began to run down the Anderson forward like Secretariat ran down Sham to win the second leg of the Triple Crown at the Preakness. Sydney would catch the Anderson forward just inside the 18 with a shoulder nudge that forced the shot attempt to go just wide left. Sydney played absolutely AMAZING! all game long. Anderson would have another shot off a corner go in the side net at the 3 minute mark. With less than 2 minutes left Kerianne White found Natalie Wilson down the middle, but maybe just 3 seconds too late as Anderson was able to shut the run down. With 15 seconds left Anderson would win a corner on a well defended ball off defender Emma Young’s foot. As Anderson took the shot the clocked ticked down the ball would bounce around and even go off a Turpin defender. The clock would go to 3-2-1-0 a pile of girls and a ball in the back of the net. I thought you have to wave this off as Anderson dog piled in what they thought was a last second victory. They thought wrong as the ref waived the shot off. Thank goodness the game was 72 minutes and not 72 minutes and 2 seconds. Both teams played a tremendous game, and I believe it was only fitting to end in a tie.
The “Through my Eyes” defying expectations player of the game is simple. Every girl who put on a Turpin uniform. It truly was a display of heart, hustle, and pride put on by the Lady Spartans.