RICKY ST. CLAIR
CLINTONVILLE — With the game tied 1-1 and less than 12 minutes to play in the second half, all Hailey McLaughlin needed was a seam.
It’s safe to say the Plattsburgh High midfielder found one, if nothing else.
High School Sports Magazine
Chipping in a direct kick from 39 yards out, McLaughlin’s game-winning goal helped the Hornets knock off AuSable Valley in come-from-behind fashion in girls’ Northern Soccer League play Tuesday, 2-1.
“I’ve been playing soccer my whole life, so kicking a ball is kind of my specialty,” McLaughlin said. “I know how to place balls, so I used it to my advantage because no one was paying attention. I saw the goalkeeper was off her line, so I thought if I could just get it over her head, it’d be good.”
Plattsburgh High didn’t get off to the start it was looking for, though.
After two point-blank opportunities in the early going, Patriots forward Taylor Saltus opened the game’s scoring on a breakaway chance at 8:15 of the first half. Jeanna Manning was credited with the assist on the play.
AuSable Valley maintained a 1-0 lead going into halftime, owning a significant differential on time on attack, while leading shots on goal 6-5.
“I think we all stepped up as a team and decided that in the first half, we just let AuSable do a little bit too much with the ball,” Hornets coach Tim Mulligan said. “At halftime, I talked about pressuring the ball and creating some opportunities as a result of good defense.
“We were playing very direct, and we weren’t showing a lot of emotion. So I just decided that if we were going to be conservative, we were going to get some bodies up front. Everyone started stepping up, and it carried over with the forwards being relentless.”
Applying pressure to an opposing team’s defense might be one of Brooke Knight’s strong suits.
Knight, a senior, slipped past the Patriots defense and challenged AuSable Valley goalkeeper Bryce Douglass on a one-on-one breakaway at 18:17.
“I won a 50-50 ball and split the two defenders,” Knight said. “The goalie didn’t come out, so I continued pushing the ball up field. I waited for a mistake, capitalized and just finished.”
With play picking up in the final 20 minutes, Mulligan said the game looked more like a track meet than anything else.
“That’s not the way we want to play either,” Mulligan said. “But that’s the way game presented itself. Both teams were going to the ball, and we struggled with our passing game. I put some people in a position to get pressure up top in the second half, and I’m just glad it worked out.”
Tied at 1-all, the two teams played with an element of physicality, which resulted in multiple yellow cards in the closing minutes.
“Every game I walk into, I know it’s going to be physical,” McLaughlin said. “But it’s soccer. If you want to join a dance club, go for it. You’re going to get hit and pushed (in soccer). It’s a give-and-take game.”
Freshman keeper Alyssa Salls was credited with the win between the pipes for Plattsburgh High, stopping six shots in net, while Douglass totaled eight saves for the Patriots.
The Hornets will practice tomorrow before challenging Beekmantown in their second consecutive Division I match Thursday.
“We’ve got to learn to pass the ball better,” Mulligan said. “We’re a very young, inexperienced team. The season is young, so we’re just going to keep learning one practice at a time. I’m sure Beekmantown can’t wait to see us on Thursday. If we can play with some emotion that I saw in the second half (Tuesday), we can make it a game.”
Plattsburgh High 2, AuSable Valley 1
Plattsburgh High 0 2 — 2
AuSable Valley 1 0 — 1
First half- 1, AVCS, Saltus (Manning), 28:40.
Second half- 2, PHS, Knight, 18:17. 3, PHS, McLaughlin, 28:40.
Shots: Plattsburgh High 14. AuSable Valley 8.
Saves: Douglass, AVCS, 8. Salls, PHS, 6.
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