On a crisp Saturday morning, the Seton Saints travelled across town for a match against a tough, largely unbeaten, Turpin Spartans team. In contrast to the recent matches against known local rivals, this contest featured teams unfamiliar with each other’s playing style. However, after the first five minutes, it was clear that their skills were evenly matched at all positions, and this would be another challenging event.
Early on, the Saints midfield used the lift-and-dash strategy to propel their offense forward, but the Spartan’s capable defense foiled every attempt. Throughout the entire match, in fact, great defensive skills and coordination enabled many scoring opportunities for Head coach Jim Abend’s Spartans. Defenders and Midfielders: Amanda Austin, Taylor Black, Olivia Canterbury, captain Rachel Heis, Kayla Jones, Maggie Moore, Kate Muscatello, Mimi Pinckney, Emma Smith, and Sophie Welsh held a united front as they challenged the Saints in tackles, recovered the ball for possession and connected with passes up field. Working to secure the center back line, Rachel and Mimi seized on every opportunity created by the Saints, and consistently returned the ball up field into Turpin’s possession.
#20 Kate Muscatello, #4 Taylor Black, #13 Gigi Bush, #14 Rachel Heis and #21 Olivia Canterbury in action.
Turpin’s strong defense allowed for exciting offensive action. At 29 minutes, Kate Muscatello drove down the left and took a strong shot on goal that was deflected for a corner. At 24 minutes, Skylar Huster passed to captain Cara Hauserman as she sprinted to her right, and Cara’s shot was deflected to Gigi Bush for a follow up shot that was saved by Seton. Maggie Moore placed several nice corners into the mix for shots that were eventually saved or deflected out. Then, Claire Bailey, Gigi Bush, Skylar Huster, Kate Muscatello, and Sophie Welsh all took shots on goal that were saved by a capable Seton goalkeeper.
At 16 minutes left in the half, Kate Muscatello settled a bouncing pass and slipped it to a racing Cara Hauserman who promptly volleyed it over the Seton goalie to the back of the net for a 1-0 Turpin lead. Cara has really come through for the Spartans as she has converted plenty of key goals this season.
A Turpin defender matched pace with a driving Seton forward, but the Saint somehow slipped a blessed shot past our charging goalkeeper for a 1-1 match equalizer. Just a few minutes later, Turpin was called for a handball foul in the box and Seton promptly converted for a stunning 2-1 Saints lead into halftime.
#2 Amanda Austin, GK - Molly Glandt, #15 Maggie Moore and #14 Rachel Heis dominated on the ball.
The second half featured a re-energized Spartan team focused on generating more offensive looks. Three minutes into the half, Reilly Flora drove a corner for the Spartans and the ball ping-ponged around while four shots on goal were deflected or covered. It really looked as though the Spartans had a celebration in the works. Five minutes later, Gigi Bush slid a pass to speedster Cara Hauserman who drove 30 yards from the left side and scored on a perfectly placed shot under the goalie and to the left net. Cara’s goal tied the game for the Spartans 2-2.
The shot pace continued when Sophie Welsh made a strong shot over the crossbar, and Amanda Austin lined a shot outside the frame to the right. Freshman Emma Smith made an exceptional defensive save on a dangerous Saints drive. Turpin goalkeeper, Molly Glandt, kept up her string of impressive performances by making leaping, diving, and courageous saves on strong Seton scoring attempts. And, freshman Ella Tierney consistently worked hard to own green space and made 4 crosses into the box presenting scoring opportunities for the Spartans. Ella emerged from many tackles with the ball, and truly made a difference in the match today.
With 14 minutes left, the Spartan crowd was getting edgy about the possibility of adding to the record number of tied matches for the season. By edgy, I mean the crowd was ramping up their cheers and shouting encouragement to the Spartans to bring the action to the net for a win. The JV Gold response was simply thrilling. Kate Muscatello threaded a clean pass to left forward, Kallista Rogers, who dribbled rapidly for 20 yards across the open turf, directly at the goal. The Seton goalkeeper charged out to challenge the drive. Kallista made a quick fake to her right and then super-powered a shot past the goalie and into the upper net to secure the eventual “Game Winner” for the Spartans! With Kallista’s score, Turpin recaptured the lead 3-2.
Freshman #19 Kallista Rogers drives the Game Winning shot!
The Spartans and Saints dueled through midfield for the balance of the match. In the end, Turpin smartly cornered the ball, stalled play by keeping possession and sealed their fourth win.
Turpin JV Gold season record moves to: 4 wins, 1 loss and 8 ties. Their ECC League record is 2-1-2.
Game photos courtesy of Turpin parents Aimee Heis and Brett Black. Thank you!