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Black Tiger girls playing well in early season

by Michael Leonard Sports Editor Published: August 28, 2016 12:00 AM
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Falls girls soccer coach Scot Etling said his team is playing "100 percent better" this year compared to last.

That hasn't translated to a win yet, but there are plenty of positives for the Black Tigers.

Falls opened the season with a wild 4-4 draw at Streetsboro Aug. 19.

In its home opener, Falls dropped a 2-1 loss to Louisville Aug. 24 at Laybourne Field.

Falls fell to 0-1-1 on the season.

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The game with Streetsboro was a back-and-forth contest, played Aug. 19 as part of the OHSAA's "Friday Night Ftbol" promotion to open the season.

Falls took at 1-0 lead at halftime, thanks to a goal by junior forward Leslie Sawyer. However, the two teams exploded for seven goals in the second half.

Falls got two goals from freshman Kaylie Ward and one from Chloe Stratton, but the Rockets got a goal from Krista Prasek, Hannah Smith and two from Kaylee Klein to settle for a tie.

Falls finished with a 14-12 edge in shots on goal.

Black Tiger goaltender Erin Huber finished with six saves in the game, while Streetsboro's Tyler Rickard finished with 10 saves.

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"Even though we haven't won yet, we're playing much better as a team all around," Etling said. "Our league is a different story, of course, but these non-league games are ones we need to be competitive in."

Against Louisville, Falls had the better run of play in the first 20 minutes, making some dangerous runs into the Leopards' box.

However, neither team was able to generate much offense as both teams had two shots on goal in the first half.

Louisville came out firing in the second half and turned that early pressure into a goal.

In the 44th minute, Louisville's Bri Horton sent a crossing ball into Falls' six-yard box and Maddie Berkebile headed it home to make it 1-0.

Falls attempted to reply quickly, but it was the Leopards who found the next goal.

In the 56th minute, Louisville earned a free kick and Jenny Hamsher sent a high ball into the box. Horton headed the ball backwards and into the net to make it 2-0.

"We purposely have to rely on connections between the midfield and defense," Etling said. "We lost some of those connections in the middle of the game and that's when they were able to break through."

Falls had a couple of chances before breaking through in the 66th minute.

Falls' junior captain Isabel Barton ran down a long ball along the Leopards' end line and sent a crossing ball across the goal. Ward struck the pass off the left post and into the net, making it 2-1.

Falls had chances until the final minute of the match, but could not find the equalizing goal.

Louisville finished with a 7-5 edge in shots on goal. Huber finished with five saves.

Falls had its game Aug. 22 with Apple Creek Waynedale postponed to Oct. 1. Also, Falls' game Aug. 27 with Barberton was canceled.

Thus, the Black Tigers will next see action Aug. 29 at home vs. Canton South. Falls will then open Suburban League National Conference play Aug. 31 at Brecksville-Broadview Heights. Kickoff both nights is set for 7 p.m.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC


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