Remember the old adage that you can throw out the records when rivals play?
That certainly was the case Monday night during the Town Derby between the Borgia and Washington girls soccer teams.
Borgia (2-5) upset the Lady Jays (6-2-1) in the contest at Borgia, 2-0.
“We have worked very hard on some of our possession principles,” Borgia Head Coach Grant Kang said. “I hope that showed at least early in the game. We also have been working all season on enhancing our mental toughness. I think today that seemed to bear fruit.”
Washington Head Coach Chris Lanemann gave credit to Borgia.
“We came out very flat,” Lanemann said. “We didn’t come out playing very well or putting much pressure on them, which allowed them to find Emily Grahl for two goals.”
It was a good night to be a Borgia player named Emily. Grahl, a junior, scored both Borgia goals, in the seventh and 24th minutes, to give Borgia its margin of victory.
“She’s really a special player,” Kang said. “In this game, she ended up making a huge difference from the scoring side. We’re very blessed to have her talents with us.”
Lanemann said Washington needs to adjust defensively to correct that.
“Both goals were a result of something which gave us trouble in the Union game and a little bit in the Seckman game,” said Lanemann. “We’re diving in and not being patient defensively. We’re not keeping the player in front of us. We dove in and that’s how she scored both goals, going right around us. That’s something we’ve talked about. We didn’t do that in the first half.”
Senior Emily Sisco kept a clean sheet in net, absorbing the Washington pressure through the later part of the first half and the entire second half.
“Our keeper Emily Sisco just seemed to have a charmed day today,” Kang said. “In all fairness, she was due a charmed day because she’s had some where the ball never bounced in her favor.”
Lanemann felt the Lady Jays were unfortunate to not put the ball into the net.
“In the second half, we’re in their end the entire time,” Lanemann said. “Every shot we took was right at their goalie.”
Lanemann credited sophomore Martha Noelker with having a strong game.
“Martha was one player who stood out tonight throughout the entire game,” Lanemann said. “We didn’t have a good first half and played better in the second half, but Martha played well the entire time. In the second half, there were times she was checking back and she was the one driving Emily Grahl off the ball instead of the center mids. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Sometimes that happens.”
The win was Borgia’s first since the Lady Knights defeated St. Clair Wednesday, March 20, in the second game of the season.
Since that time, Borgia has been flat. The Lady Knights were outscored by a 16-1 margin last week in losses to St. Dominic, Bishop DuBourg and St. Pius.
“We were really lacking some confidence,” Kang said. “Being able to provide a competitive game today just helps our whole team in general have confidence. I was really happy to see the girls able to establish some confidence tonight.”
Meanwhile, Washington was on a roll, going unbeaten in its first seven games before losing to Union in the Windsor Tournament championship game last Thursday, 3-1.
The Lady Jays had been looking to bounce back against Borgia, but it wasn’t to be the case.
“They came in as a favorite and it was pretty obvious why,” Kang said. “They have no weaknesses. Every player on their team is quick, fast and technical.”
Grahl gave Borgia the lead it needed in the seventh minute when she made a run through the Washington defense and beat Washington junior goalkeeper Anna Kelpe.
Grahl doubled Borgia’s lead with a long run up the right side in the 16th minute. Estimated at 60, Grahl finished off the play with another shot past Kelpe to add to the pressure.
“She just ran right through my team,” Lanemann said. “That never should have happened.”
Lanemann felt the Lady Jays took care of things other than those chances.
“We gave up two quality scoring opportunities,” Lanemann said. “Even though we were in their end the entire time, we couldn’t find two quality scoring opportunities ourselves.”
Washington had plenty of chances. Its best scoring chance came in the first half when Sisco made a diving stop on a shot by Washington junior Brianna Pagan.
In the second half, Washington had many chances and controlled play. Unfortunately for Washington, every shot seemed to go right at Sisco, who proved to be a wall in goal.
“I think they created a lot of good chances,” Kang said. “We just ended up getting really fortunate today.”
Junior Mary McGilvray, who replaced Kelpe at the half, hardly had to handle the ball in the Washington net.
Defensively, Borgia had a plan and played thorough defense. Many times, especially in the first half, the defenders forced the ball loose only for sophomore sweeper Molly Arand to hammer it away from goal.
The teams tied in the junior varsity game, 0-0. Borgia had a penalty kick late in the contest but missed the goal.
While Monday’s game was big for the Lady Jays, Lanemann wasn’t fretting about it.
“I’m not from this town,” Lanemann said. “For me, I would rather win tomorrow and Thursday, which are conference games against two of the better teams in the area. But they put so much pressure on themselves to beat their friends that they play not to lose rather than to win. I think that’s a problem we’ve had for the last two years.”
The Lady Jays host Ft. Zumwalt East in Gateway Athletic Conference Central Division action Tuesday. On Thursday, the Lady Jays are on the road at Ft. Zumwalt South. The junior varsity game starts at 5 p.m. The Lady Jays host Sullivan Friday with JV action at 5 p.m.
“Those are going to be two tough games,” Lanemann said. “Friday is not going to be an easy game, either. Sullivan is having a good game. They’ve won as many games as we have already this year. That’s not going to be an easy game by any stretch, either.”
Borgia hits the road Thursday to play at Kennedy in a 4:30 p.m. JV start. The Lady Knights are at Rosati-Kain in Archdiocesan Athletic Association action Friday starting at 4:15 p.m.