Second half powers Gryphons past Patriots
Rachael Tevis scored one goal and had one assist as a second half surge carried the Thomas Jefferson soccer team past Madison Wednesday night.
Tevis’s performance came in the absence of striker Anna Dedmon who missed the entire second half due to a leg injury.
“It was good for the team to see that they can win without Anna,” said TJCA head coach Brian Espinoza. “Her minutes will be very limited for the rest of the season so it was very encouraging to see Rachael and Leah (Lineberry) play so well.”
The two squads spent the the match feeling each other out. The first major chance came in the eighth minute when Tevis made an uncontested run down the far side.
She then knocked the ball off a Madison defender to earn a corner kick. The attempt sailed high however as the match remained scoreless.
TJCA (9-5-1) controlled the run of play over the next 20 minutes of game action. Tevis and Alyssa Edwards were able to work free for shots from point blank range, but each were stopped by a diving Lindsey Froman in the Lady Patriot goal.
From that point the tide turned and the visitors kept the ball and were able to make several runs at the Gryphon’s goal.
Their best chance to score came in the 37th minute when Emerson Barnett sent a shot past goalie Caroline Longerbeam, but defender Eleora Allballa raced to knock the shot just before it crossed the line.
Off the restart, Dedmon collided with a Patriot defender and had to be helped from the field. She did not see action the rest of the way as the half ended with teams still even at 0-0.
With Dedmon out, Tevis took over the second half.
She controlled possession for long stretches and was able to find open teammates. TJCA’s methodical attack began to pay off as Tevis and Leah Lineberry began to pepper Froman with shots. She was up to the challenge, however, making a pair of saves diving to her left to keep the Lady Gryphons off the board.
TJCA’s patience finally paid off in the 68th minute.
Erin Collins sent a long pass down the near sideline to Tevis who used her speed to catch up with the ball in the corner. She looked to be trapped by her defender but delivered a back heel pass to the top of the box right to the feat of Lineberry whose chip shot eluded fingertips of Froman for a 1-0 TJCA lead.
“The back heal pass is one of the most difficult plays to execute in soccer and Rachael executed it perfectly,” said Espinoza. “Leah did an excellent job finishing too. It was just a beautiful play.”
Froman collided with the far post on the save attempt and an ambulance was called to the field for precautionary reasons.
After the lengthy injury delay, TJCA wasted little time in adding an insurance goal. Tevis stole the ball at midfield and broke through the Lady Patriot back line. She then eased the ball past the onrushing goalie to make the tally 2-0 in the 69th minute.
Several bench players saw key minutes down the stretch as the Lady Gryphons claimed the 2-0 win.
TJCA returns to the pitch Wednesday as they host Pine Lake Prep at 6 p.m.