FOREST CITY — Wednesday’s girls soccer match between R-S Central and East Rutherford was the typical rivalry game with both teams playing with an incredible amount of intensity, effort and aggression. And after 100 minutes of soccer, the match ended in a scoreless draw.
Both goalies were spectacular as East Rutherford freshman Taylor Thompson ended up with 25 saves, while R-S Central senior Savannah Bates snatched eight saves.
Both head coaches had positive things to say about their teams effort.
“The defense was unbelievable tonight,” said East Rutherford head coach Grant Pecheck. “Three weeks ago, we lost to this team, 6-1, but the final 20 minutes of that match, we shut them out and we scored a goal ourselves. I told the girls we were the better team over that 20 minute stretch and I challenged them to go out and do the same thing tonight for 100 minutes and they gave me all that and then some. I could not be more proud of our girls.”
“I’ll take girls trying to win a game for 100 minutes any day, instead of playing not to lose,” said R-S Central head coach Clint Hill. “We’re not going to lay back on defense and park a bus in the box. We are going to play to win the game. East made it tough on us. Give them a ton of credit. They played with way more intensity in the first half and they were first to the ball. I give his girls all the credit in the world. I thought we played better in the second half and I was proud of our effort. The goalkeeper for East had an outstanding game. I thought four or five shots during both halves and overtime were going in, but she made some unbelievable plays. Credit to her, but I’m proud of our girls’ effort. We fought them to the wire. It’s East/Central and that’s what happens.”
It didn’t take long for Thompson and Bates to make their presence felt as both keepers came up with saves in the first six minutes. R-S Central’s Kaylin Hooper sent a shot towards the goal in the 11th minute, but it banged off the side post. Ella Parton would get a good look with her left foot, but the shot sailed just high two minutes later.
In the 16th minute, Thompson came off her line and punched the ball out of play. Both teams would keep the ball in the middle of the field for the most part over the next 15 minutes. R-S Central was awarded a corner kick in the 29th minute, but was unsuccessful. After a Thompson save, R-S Central’s Savannah Lail tried her luck, but her shot went just right of the goal. Thompson would make one more save in the 38th minute to send the game into halftime scoreless.
Hooper made a nice run out of the second-half gate, but her shot sailed just high. R-S Central would have a corner, a free kick and a shot on goal over the next three minutes, but Thompson stopped each one. On a counter attack, East Rutherford fired a shot from approximately 20 yards out, but Bates was there to collect the attempt.
In the 54th minute, Hooper delivered a missile that bounced off the side post and deflected towards the middle of the goal, but Thompson once again came off her line and with full extension, was able to collect the ball. Three minutes later, Thompson would make a similar play. A rocket off the foot of Parton was blocked by Thompson, who then made a diving snag on the loose ball to prevent a second shot.
East Rutherford’s Allie Day had a free kick, from approximately 30 yards out, but Bates glided over and caught the shot in the air. Thompson made four saves over the next three minutes and in the 67th minute, Thompson came off her line again to make a diving save.
The Lady Cavaliers would have two corners back-to-back in the 65th and 66th minute, but Bates and the Lady ‘Toppers defense protected the goal, denying both chances.
In the 70th minute, Thompson would make an excellent save on a shot by Lilly Greene.
The R-S Central attack picked up tremendously over the final 10 minutes of regulation, putting several shots around the goal, but Thompson was game for each one. Parton had one last opportunity with a free kick at the buzzer, but the shot sailed just high, sending the match into overtime.
Thomson made multiple saves as Parton and Hooper each fired shots in the first overtime period, but none could find the mark.
Over the final 10 minutes of action, Thompson made seven saves to hold the match scoreless, resulting in the 0-0 draw.
As far as Thompson’s performance in between the pipes, Pecheck called it special.
“For a freshman, it’s almost unprecedented,” he said. “She took their best shots and stood tall. It’s a huge boost for her confidence and she played an all-star type of game.”
R-S Central will host Shelby on Monday, while East Rutherford will travel to Burns next Wednesday.