As the rain clouds rolled in on Dee Monnett Field Thursday, the Greencastle girls' soccer team was pumped and ready to play but fell short with a 3-0 loss to the Edgewood Mustangs.
The whistle blew and down came the rain. Both teams of girls had to use speed and ball skills to overcome the slick ground and less than perfect weather conditions.
The Mustangs kicked off and immediately put the ball in Greencastle's backfield. The GHS girls soon realized they were going to have to step up their game if they had any hopes of pulling off a victory. Something clicked and Greencastle began moving the ball through triangles and changing positions to advance the ball forward. However, the Mustangs' defense was just too strong and it kept the Cubs from finding the net.
As Edgewood pushed the ball back, GHS goalie Sydney Secrest seemed to be having fun in the rain defending the goal with textbook dives and saves. At times it looked as though the rain actually helped Secrest slide to the ball and defend the goal. A few times Secrest even slid out to make a save and the ball bounced out of her arms and back into play. With Secrest out of the goal, her defenders Kenzie Kean, Brittany Friars and Dominique Lafontant sprinted back to keep the ball out of the net.
With the rain still pouring the clock ticked down and Greencastle was charging hard and working to control the ball. The GHS midfield pushed forward and wouldn't back down keeping Edgewood from scoring. At times the Mustangs had all but two players on Greencastle's side of the field but the GHS defense worked with the midfield to clear the ball. Even with substitutions Greencastle never faltered and kept the Mustangs from scoring, ending the first half 0-0.
"I think this game was literally a game changer for our girls," GHS head coach Maurice McKee said. "For the first time they saw they could stand up to a good team. "
Whether they were trying to keep warm or were looking to score Greencastle came back from halftime fired up. Greencastle continued to play hard even through the cold and rain for the majority of the second half.
But all good things come to an end as Greencastle looked like they ran out of steam in the last 15 minutes of the game. Edgewood must have seen this as they made substitutions, put fresh legs on the field and in a few minutes put the ball in Greencastle's net. Edgewood moved the ball down to the 18 and sucked the GHS defense and goalie out to the ball. Once everyone was out of position Edgewood sent the ball sailing towards the net and scored with seven minutes to go in the game. That first goal sparked the Mustangs as they returned the ball to the net two more times within the last five minutes. Greencastle wasn't able to recover and lost the game 3-0.
"Hopefully the first half helped build the girls' confidence," McKee commented. "While the second half proved the only way to win is play hard as a team for the full 80 minutes. We were about seven minutes short tonight."
Greencastle is back in action for Senior Afternoon on Saturday, Sept. 24 against Brown County. The game begins at 11 a.m.