ROACHDALE -- While their male counterparts were at Greencastle, North Putnam's girls' soccer team was holding down the home fort against the visiting North Montgomery Chargers.
Looking for their first win since August, a game against Owen Valley, the Cougars started off the match aggressively and for 60 minutes looked likely to get a win against the Chargers.
An unfortunate bounce, however, gave Northmont an equalizing goal before a breakaway goal secured the win for the Chargers, 2-1.
With only 12 able bodies available, North Putnam looked to attack early and often against a Northmont side that was slow in getting into the game. Cougar junior Maggie Pinney was at the heart of most of the home side's best attacks and would score the Cougar's lone goal.
Seven minutes into the match, Pinney took the ball from midfield and went on a solo run straight through the center of the visiting defense, scoring past Tiffanie Borta to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars continued to attack, pushing back the Chargers for most of the first half with Pinney trying to add to her first score. Toward the end of the first half, a goal mouth scramble ensued that saw four separate Charger shots blocked or saved by North Putnam defenders, keeping the score at 1-0 going into halftime.
As much as the first half had been going in the host's favor, the second half was all the visitors.
Northmont began to press very high up the field in the second half while using its substitutes often, wearing down the shorthanded Cougars. Even then, Northmont could not break the defensive line of Haven Trent, Rachel Kientz, Lydia Volland and Jaclyn Davidson.
As the half wore on, Pinney began to drop back as extra cover and give the defense a breather. The combined efforts of the whole Cougar squad paid off, frustrating the visitors time and time again.
Midway through the half, Charger defender Jana Amstutz kicked the ball up field in order to pin the Cougars back deep in their own half of the field. The ball took an odd bounce, one that went right under the hands of goalkeeper Jaclyn Roush, and squirmed its way into the back of the net, tying the match at 1-1.
The Cougars seemed to lose steam, though they had a chance to get the lead back five minutes later. Another large goal mouth scramble saw multiple shots blocked by Charger defenders as North Putnam tried to get back in front.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Northmont took the lead after the Cougars tried again to get into scoring position. Celia Kauth took an outlet pass up the right side of the field and was able to turn the ball back inside toward the Cougar goal.
The cross eluded two North Putnam defenders and the goalkeeper and found its way to the foot of Kallie Peterman who tapped it in from three yards out and gave the Chargers the lead.
Molly Bohlander nearly made it 3-1 in the last few minutes after she unleashed an impressive 25-yard shot that Roush could not stop, but play was called back for a foul just before the shot. The waved-off goal would not matter as the match ended 2-1 in favor of the visitors.
For coach Willie Gaskins, it wasn't a bad effort by any stretch of the imagination.
"In the first half, we played our game," Gaskins said. "We played our level. We took several shots, even if they weren't all on goal. We didn't always get it to the goal but we got it close enough to take shots. We had a lot of little passes that worked. Maggie Pinney dribbled up the middle, that's how she got her goal."
The numbers game eventually added up against the Cougars, especially after Northmont found an equalizer.
"It hurt us, but it shouldn't have affected us like it did. Our defense just started getting tired. We only have 12 girls right now due to some injuries and some ineligible players. What really hurt us was we started wearing down and then when the goal came they got shocked and just couldn't step back up."
Edgewood presents the next challenge for the Cougars Saturday.
"That should be another tough match. Should be a fairly close match. I haven't seen much of Edgewood since last year but usually we can keep it pretty tight. It's going to come down to discipline."
At North Putnam
Northmont 0 2 -- 2
North Putnam 1 0 -- 1
Next match -- North Putnam travels to Edgewood Saturday for a 11 a.m. contest.