Thursday, May 19, 2016
South Christian High School
Thornapple-Kellogg High School
The TK Lady Trojans squared off for the second time this season against a tough rival in South Christian. The last time the two teams met TK won 2-1. With a win tonight TK could clinch a share of the OK Gold conference going 2 games up over South Christian with just 2 games left to play. South came into the game with a different agenda and a desire to share a piece of the conference with the trojans.
It didn’t take long for the Sailors to go up 1-0. A long throw in by South found a teammate in the box. TK’s keeper tried to come out to make a play on the ball but they were able to get a foot on it and make it 1-0. The rest of the half saw South putting a lot of pressure on TK and the trojans not getting many opportunities.
“At half time the message was two things for our girls.” said head coach Joel Strickland. “First we have to relax. We have been in this position before and we are ok. We just needed to settle down. The second message was that we have to have a will to win and work harder. That we had to play TK soccer and possess the ball and win the 50/50 battle.” And the trojans did just that. In the first 5 minutes TK put a lot of pressure on South’s back line winning many 50/50 balls and keeping it on their end. One ball flew just over the top post from Taylor Pratt on a corner kick along with another ball sailing just wide. It was at the 5:24 mark when Alyvia Thorne evened the score up. Makayla King won a great battle in the middle and played a through ball to Thorne who beat one defender and slotted it in to tie the game up. “The second half was great for us. I felt like the first half we played pretty well defensively but in the second half we need more from our mids and forwards and all of them stepped up” said Strickland.
Just 6 minutes later at the 11:06 mark South lost the ball out of bounds in TK’s defensive third. Defender Taylor Pratt made a heads up play and threw the ball in quick to forward Alyvia Thorne. Thorne settled the ball and split 2 defenders around the 50 yard line and then broke through another defender where she found Holly Hall making a run into the box. Hall turned and put it in the back of the net to put the trojans up 2-1. “Hall and Thorne played great for us tonight up top along with Barnes. They really drove the energy in the second half and when those 3 play like they did tonight I really don’t think any team can stop them. It is a lot of fun to watch” Strickland said.
The trojans continued to put pressure on South the rest of the game getting many opportunities and several just saved by South’s keeper. “I felt like our midfield did a great job in the second half of controlling the game. We slowed down and they possessed the ball and found the runners which made a huge difference for us” said Strickland.
The final goal of the game was probably the most exciting as it was a huge team effort that came at the 29:50 mark. Again South was trying to press in TK’s defensive third when Hanna McCrath stole a pass and found Makayla king. Makayla then switched the field to Anna Morgan who took some space and played a ball to Haley Alverson who played a beautiful ball across the box and found Holly Hall waiting on the other end. Hall settled the pass and scored her second of the night. “Haley had a great game and I think she did a great job bringing a ton of energy for us in the first and second half tonight. When Haley brings that type of energy we all feed off of it and she brought it tonight” said Strickland.
The trojans move to 13-1-2 on the season and a perfect 8-0 in the conference. TK plays Monday at Catholic Central. A win would clinch the OK Gold outright although TK has already cliched at least a share of the conference with tonights win.