HS Soccer: Lady Owls overcomes sloppy start and manages Meadville 6-0 | High school
Bradford faced heavy resistance in the opening game, but a stellar performance from Maddi Cowburn and excellent defense gave the Lady Owls a comfortable 6-0 victory.
Bradford won hands down at Meadville in both teams’ last game. While the Lady Owls never looked in trouble at Parkway Field, it was far from an easy win.
Bradford kept the ball in his attacking zone for almost 34 minutes of the first half, but only scored two goals. Meadville goalkeeper Laci Carlson made some good saves, but Meadville managed to push Bradford off the attacking point and play physically in the penalty area.
Aggressive defense worked from the start. The Bradford forwards were only slightly off target with their passing ball placement.
A lazier team would have given Bradford time and space to circle the pass, but Meadville showed no fear in facing the Bradford forwards.
“The passes were good and bad,” said Bradford coach Warren Shaw. “We moved the ball really well, but again they packed the back, so it’s very difficult to get into the middle. Once we realized it, we were better. We have made a lot of give and take. It’s just hard to play when a team puts you in the background. “
The Lady Bulldogs couldn’t win in the middle of the field, however, and that doomed them. Bradford was rarely in defense. Meadville had few valuable chances in his attacking zone, and they didn’t last more than a few minutes each time.
The Prince sisters, Bella and Emily did a good job returning the ball to midfield where Bailee Fitzsimmons, Eliana Kane and Lauren Placer pushed it forward while preventing any attack from Lady Bulldog.
When a long bullet from Meadville arrived, it was returned within seconds.
“I thought our fullback did a great job figuring out how they (Meadville) were going to play,” Shaw said. “One pass and send it long, that’s what they were trying to do. I thought our back line was doing a really good job there. I thought our six and (Kelsea) Austin did a good job controlling the midfield. We have to go a little faster with a few passes in the middle. “
Assists were weaker than usual on Tuesday and will be something the Lady Owls tighten up as they begin to end the season and prepare for the playoffs.
The second half of the game was more of a struggle for possession. Bradford played well up front to score two more goals, one from Emily Morgan and one from Cowburn.
Bradford goalie Daisy Paige did well in the first, but didn’t come under much pressure. She looked great in the second, making several saves and deflecting a well-placed corner from Phoebe Templin. That deviation lasted a long time for a Bradford player, who gave Cowburn a deep kick, who did the rest, giving Bradford a 5-0 lead.
Speaking of which, Cowburn had fantastic scores, which is hardly a surprise to anyone who has followed this team while they were on it. She had a first-half hat trick en route to a four-goal performance.
His second goal was an incredible individual effort, recovering the ball and running through two defenders over 40 yards. As the goalkeeper went out with another defender, Cowburn shot between the two for a 2-0 lead.
Bradford’s offense often relies on Cowburn but Shaw is not affected.
“I’m not worried about that because she’s a fantastic player and also plays really well in the system,” said Shaw. “If you look, she has a ton of assists.”
Could the offense be more diverse? Yeah, but the team does a great job of putting Cowburn in scoring position, they don’t count on her to miss three defenders and pull off a miracle shot. And as the Lady Owls get healthier, more players should be able to provide firepower.
“We’re trying to get some players back to good health,” Shaw said. “We’re at the end of six games, in what, eight days? It’s a tough race. We come back to it on Thursday and then Saturday. I think part of it has to do with dead legs… I think (Austin) is coming back to where it needs to be… They (Bradford) run a lot. Not something for the faint of heart to be here playing soccer like they do.
It can be difficult to do what the Lady Owls are doing, but they did more than just play soccer on Tuesday. It was breast cancer awareness night, with several Bradford coaches dressed in pink and the players marching with players from Bradford United Soccer Club.
“It’s about the girls, they’ve been doing this since the start of the season,” Shaw said. “They decided they wanted to do something with the boosters. For all of us cancer has touched us all, for these girls it means something to them. And I hope that means something to the people who were here. Let them do it and support them. That they want to do that, I think it’s great.
The Lady Owls have a tough test Thursday, playing Warren. Bradford beat Warren at home earlier this season, the program’s first victory over the Lady Dragons in a decade.