WOODSTOCK – Tuesday’s Central-Strasburg girls soccer match was a tune-up for next week when much more is on the line. Central took advantage of its opportunities on Tuesday and gained a little confidence heading into the postseason.
The Falcons pulled out a 1-0 Bull Run District victory over the Rams in Bull Run District action. The two teams play on Monday in the Bull Run District tournament quarterfinals at Strasburg with a Region 2B berth at stake.
The Rams beat the Falcons in the first meeting of the season, 2-0, on April 25. Central junior Hannah Dellinger said Tuesday’s win was a big boost for the Falcons.
“This definitely is going to help us with confidence we’ve gained after coming from the last game with the loss to them,” Dellinger said. “We all have bad days and good days, and I think last game was really a bad day from us. And we’ve really grown since then.”
Dellinger scored the game’s only goal on a pass from teammate Gracie Foltz with about 14 minutes left in the game.
“My teammate Gracie (Foltz), she had a really good through ball, and I was just waiting at the line,” Dellinger said. “It was just far enough in front where it wasn’t already in goal, and it was just a good touch. But really, it came from the defense from one of (Central goalkeeper) Kendall’s (Herbaugh) boots, and really it was just a good through ball by Gracie.”
Both teams had plenty of scoring opportunities. One of Strasburg’s best chances came with about 21 minutes left in the first half. Strasburg’s Hannah Peer appeared to have Herbaugh out of position in goal, but Peer missed to the right of the goal.
With about eight minutes left in the game, Peer had a shot hit off the goal post and bounce away.
“We hit a couple posts,” Strasburg coach Kayla Allen said. “We had a couple of heartbreakers of we thought it was going in and it didn’t, and we know that. And I think that’s what makes this loss so frustrating, was we were there and we had the opportunities. It’s not necessarily that we were out-played, it’s just that we were out-finished.”
The Rams (6-9-1, 4-6 Bull Run) lost their top two goalkeepers to season-ending injuries in the last week. Sam Simpson suffered what Allen said they believe to be a fractured ankle and Kenley Smith has a broken wrist. Strasburg sophomore forward Sierra Rickard started in goal for the first time this season and only allowed one goal.
“I’m so proud of her for being able to step up, and she’s calling back on her goalie training that she had years ago. We’re just thankful that she had it,” Allen said. “She did really well. She controlled her box. She came out when she needed to and made the saves that she needed to. The goal they scored on us would have gone in on anybody.”
Allen said offensively her team was moving the ball side-to-side too much instead of moving it forward.
The Falcons (3-9-4, 2-6-2 Bull Run) have been playing better, despite some losses. Last week the Falcons lost 1-0 to Class 2 powerhouse George Mason.
Central coach Kim Dellinger said he’s been pleased with the improvements he’s seen from his squad. He said the improvements started with a 2-1 loss to second-place Madison County on April 30.
“We’ve moved some players around from offense to defense and vice versa,” Kim Dellinger said. “I think there’s been some huge improvements. I think that started in the Madison game. I think there were some things that we did that helped give us some more speed on defense. A lot of these teams have a lot of fast players, and we just aren’t blessed with that. We have a couple fast players but not a whole group of them like some teams do.”
Allen said that she feels confident in her team’s chances on Monday against the Rams.
“We know the importance of that game,” she said. “Playing at home, we’ll have a comfortable feeling. Hopefully, this time we’ll know that we can do it, and just be confident enough to be patient and to force the ball forward.”
Hannah Dellinger said she’s looking forward to playing Strasburg again Monday.
“I’m excited; it’s a little nerve-wracking,” Hannah Dellinger said. “A win will push us to where we were last season (in regionals). Losing nine players (to graduation from last year), it will be pretty phenomenal for us to come back and get back there. But I think we can do it. We’re going to be playing at their place. So it’s going to be a lot different atmosphere, but I know we can do it.”