Monday’s non-conference soccer match between the Coal City and Morris girls was about as even as it gets. One keeper made 13 saves and the other 14, with both the Coalers and Redskins getting an equal number of quality chances to put the ball in the back of the net.
It should come as little surprise then that the two teams played to a 1-1 stalemate under the lights at MCHS.
“That was a fun game. Those girls play against each other all the time, so that was fun to watch,” Coal City coach Michael Kostbade said. “That goes for both levels. The teams were super competitive tonight.”
“It was a very exciting game,” Morris coach Kristen Porter said. “They remind me of Herscher — a team that is going to play head to head and toe to toe. Tonight’s was an aggressive game. It was anybody’s game.”
The match was scoreless at halftime despite each team getting quality chances in the first 40. For Morris, their best chance probably came in the 33rd minute when Coal City keeper Sarah Sirovy stopped a breakaway chance by Emily Burling. At the other end Coal City nearly snuck one past Morris goalie Stephenie Wiekert in the 38th minute. In that spot, Alicia Matusiak blasted one that Wickert saved, but the ball squirted free and away from the keeper. With a Coal City player converging on the ball, Cara Cummings was able to swoop in and kick the ball away for the save.
It was in the 58th minute when the scoreless tie was broken. Coal City struck first on a goal by Jenn Druse.
“Brynna (Borgra) went to cross it blindly and I happened to be there,” Druse said. “She was just passing to get it out and I was in the right spot at the right time. I had a little time to see where the goalie was at and shot in past her in the opposite corner.”
Up until that point, and then for the remainder of the game, the Morris defense was stellar though.
“Their defense did an excellent job,” Kostbade said. “Especially in the first half. We had to make some adjustments at halftime.”
Porter said that her team also had adjustments to make.
“Our defense did an outstanding job the whole game,” Porter said. “Our starting inside defender, Katherine Gallick, went down with an injury 20 minutes into the first half. We had to adjust our defense and bring sophomore Alexis halcomb in.
After the adjustments were made, our 4-back defense did outstanding all the while under heavy pressure from Coal City. Sam Limbach, Emily Ashworth, Halcomb and Cummings ... I can’t say enough about what a great job the defense did.”
Cummings also made her mark on offense, as well. With 10:42 remaining to play, she was able to put a placed kick past Sirovy from about 30 yards away.
“Cara is very accurate and she’s mainly right on the goal,” Porter said. “She’s very reliable for us.”
It was the second time in the game that Cummings took a free kick and from almost the identical spot on the field.
“The second one I was able to put the ball in over the goalie’s head in the left corner,” Cummings said. “Usually on kicks like that, we like to put the ball into a high corner.”
It turned out to be the only one of 14 shots on goal that Sirovy didn’t save. On the other end, Wieckert made 14 saves in 15 chances.
“Wieckert did an outstanding job in goal,” Porter said. “She made some outstanding saves against two very good forwards on Coal City.”
Kostbade had similar praise for Sirovy.
“Sarah did an awesome job in goal tonight,” he said.
Coal City is now 2-1-1 on the season while Morris moves to 2-1-2.