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Friday, May 6, 2016

North Putnam drops contest to Monrovia, 2-0

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

North Putnam junior Haven Trent readies to fire a kick down the field during the Cougars' matchup against Monrovia. [Order this photo]
ROACHDALE -- The North Putnam girls' soccer team tangled with Monrovia Tuesday without the services of senior forward Cayla Kientz, ultimately falling to the Bulldogs 2-0.

"Really I just saw that our mentality goes down the drain if we lose some of our starters. I don't know why. I don't know how to fix it, but I will figure it out tomorrow before we play Tri-West," North Putnam head coach Willie Gaskins said.

North Putnam battled the Bulldogs tight in the first half, allowing them get close, but never connect on a shot attempt. The Cougars continued applying aggressive defensive pressure and looked like they would keep the Bulldogs out of the net in the first half.

At the 16:32 point of the first half, Monrovia's Emma Hoffman sent a corner kick flying into the middle of the field where Jessica Alward received it and sent the ball flying past North Putnam keeper Claire Sims for the first point of the contest.

North Putnam's offense continued to attack the Bulldogs and had many chances to get a shot on goal, but each time the Cougars penetrated, the Monrovia defenders kept them at bay.

The teams went to the half with Monrovia leading 1-0.

In the second half, Monrovia's fans hit their feet again with 22:37 on the clock when the ball trickled into the net. After a few brief moments, the referees called the goal off leaving the score at 1-0 in favor of the Bulldogs.

With time ticking away, Monrovia's Alward once again connected on a goal off a corner kick to put the Bulldogs up 2-0 with 3:08 left in the match.

North Putnam fought until the final horn, but was unable to find its way in the scorebook as the Bulldogs won 2-0.

The Cougars saw a lot of passes find their way into the middle of the field in front of the net, but they were never able to capitalize on them. Instead of charging the ball, North Putnam was content to either watch it roll or hesitated to make a play on the ball allowing Monrovia to seize control and clear it.

Gaskin said it came down to the fact his team wasn't in sync as far as communication was concerned.

"The communication was lacking to say the least tonight. That's just one of those things I've been fighting all year.

"So we're trying to work on that is a fighting battle every single practice," Gaskins said.

When a fan sees the words "freshman keeper" side by side on a roster, usually that's a prime recipe for bad things to happen. In the case of North Putnam and its freshman keeper Sims, nothing could be further from the truth.

"She is phenomenal," Gaskins said. "Claire Sims as a freshman has just blown me away. She's not scared, she will charge the ball, she will sacrifice life and limb if she has to to stop a ball from going in. If she can see it, she has a good shot at stopping it.

"The close in shots, one-on-one, goalies don't stand much of a chance at any level. So at this level for her to already have it as a freshman, never playing goalie before, she came in, picking it up really fast and goes in their fearless every time."

North Putnam is back in action Thursday when it host Tri-West at 5 p.m.

At North Putnam

Monrovia 1 1 -- 2

North Putnam 0 0 -- 0

First Half

M -- Alward 16:32

Second Half

M -- Alward 3:08