Lady Barons compete effectively in N.C. tournament
Crisp cool mornings and clear mountain air seemed to invigorate the Brewton Parker College women's soccer team last weekend as the team discarded their defensive tactics in favor of an attacking style of play in the Blue Ridge Invitational Tournament in Brevard, N.C.
"We were playing great defense but were unable to establish possession in our 3-0 loss against Oglethorpe University on Sept. 23," said Bill Glass, BPC women's soccer coach.
"So, just to mix things up we pushed one of our backs, sophomore Kelly Mosley of Appling, up into the midfield to help us put some passes together, generate some attacks and put the other team off balance."
The strategy worked to the extent that Brewton-Parker was able to compete effectively at the tournament, unfortunately the final results still went against BPC, the women lost 4-1 against Southern Virginia University and 2-1 against Brevard College.
Glass said the score in the Southern Virginia game is not indicative of how closely fought the contest was. While leading 1-0 with 30 minutes left to play, SVU went ahead 2-0 by getting behind the BPC defense and finishing with a shot that gave BPC goalkeeper Michelle McRaven no chance for a save.
The Lady Barons threw all caution to the wind and began a series of attacks that ultimately resulted in a brilliant unassisted goal by sophomore Ashley Meyer of Alma, Ontario, closing the gap to 2-1 with 10 minutes to play.
As the Lady Barons pressed to pull the match back to even, they first gave up one counterattack goal and then another over the last few minutes of the match, thus accounting for the 4-1 result.
"We were playing them very tough and could have continued that way and held it to a 2-0 loss, but what fun is that?" Glass said. "As it was, we pulled out all the stops to win the match and ended up with a result that really does not reflect the intensity of the contest."
The next day against Brevard College, the Lady Barons again came out and played aggressively.
They were not deterred when Brevard scored an early goal but kept to their game plan and were able to tie the game late in the first half when sophomore Avianne Tobias of Toca, Trinidad, played a long driven pass over the head of Brevard's right back onto a run by Meyer, who got in behind the defender on the ball, went one-on-one with the keeper and scored with a textbook finish, inside back post.
"Time of possession in the first half was about evenly spilt and we spent about 50 percent of the time on their end of the field," Glass said.
The Lady Barons were putting two and three passes together at a time, working combinations to move the ball into attacking position. "We were possessing the ball better then we have all season," Glass said.
On the defensive side of the field, the Lady Barons were causing turnovers with their team defensive tactics.
In the second half, BPC came out with more of the same but then hit the wall and had a flat spell. Where, Glass said, "it looked like the ladies were walking around in wet cement."
Brevard took advantage and scored to go up 2-1, a situation that immediately brought the Lady Barons out of their funk.
"We dominated the last 20 minutes of the half and created several scoring chances," said Glass. "However, we were unable to pull it out."
The good news in the Brevard game is that the Lady Barons were able to generate attacks while thwarting Brevard's counterattacks.
"The key is that junior Karen Taylor of Burlington, Ontario, and Kelly Mosley stuck to their positions as holding mid-fielders and thus were able to help both the attackers and the defenders," Glass said.
The Lady Barons would not have been able to both attack and hold of charges by their opponents were it not for outstanding performances by backs Anna Fry, a senior from Baldwin, Kendra Sewell of Canton and Tobias.
"Our game plan for the weekend was a reflection of the confidence we have in that trio of defenders," Glass said.
Meyer was named to the Blue Ridge Invitational All-Tournament Team with two goals scored on seven shots, and Glass said McRaven should have made the all-tournament team as well.
"Everyone agreed that our goalkeeper was the best keeper there," he said, "but she was not named to the all-tournament team because they just used the goals against stat and did not take into consideration the number of saves."
The Lady Barons' return trip from the North Carolina mountains featured an amateur singing contest among the players won by freshman striker Brittany Evans of Louisville, Ga., on the basis of sheer volume alone.
Sprits were high and the team is eagerly awaiting its next match Wednesday against Shorter College, a 4 p.m. Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference contest to be played in Rome, Ga.
The Lady Barons (1-10-1 overall, 0-1-1 GACC) return home for a Saturday match against Atlanta Christian College beginning at noon, and follow with a home GACC contest against Emmanuel College on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 2 p.m.
Brewton-Parker College senior midfielder Anna Fry (No. 3) works the ball upfield against an Oglethorpe University defender during action Sept. 23 at the Ed Moses Soccer Field on the Brewton-Parker campus in Mount Vernon. (Photo by Charles Conkin)