Soccer sometimes gets a bad rap for lack of offense.
That decidedly was not the case Thursday (Sept. 12) at Batesville’s Bill Gillespie soccer complex, where the host Oldenburg Academy Lady Twisters and guest Richmond Red Devils combined for five goals in the first half and six more in the second. Fortunately for OA, seven of the scores went into the Richmond netting as the Twisters won 7-4.
OA held a narrow 3-2 edge at intermission, thanks to the teamwork of junior Leila Savage and senior Allison Storms in the period’s last six minutes. Nakala Bennett’s low roller had put the visitors up 2-1 at the 8:33 mark, but Storms assisted on Savage’s second goal at 5:56 to tie. Bennett challenged OA’s keeper Molly Wachsmann a few more times but came up empty. With only 26 seconds left, Storms buried a shot from about 25 yards.
“I told them at half it’s okay when the other team scores a goal,” first-year coach Brian Hronek commented.
“It seems we were kind of slow to the ball after that, but then we picked it up,” he added. “I give my players a lot of credit, they do some great combos up and down the field.”
Wachsmann made one of her six saves early in the second period off an RHS direct kick. Devil keeper Molly O’Brien was not as lucky minutes later. Savage set up on the right side and sent one rolling to O’Brien, whose fumble allowed freshman Jaylyn Stenger to follow it in for a 4-2 lead at 31:19.
Bennett nearly had a direct-kick goal, the ball banging off the near post. Richmond then finished one at 27:26, when Sierra Rust gathered up a deflected shot and kicked one up to the crossbar and across the plane.
After a pair of Storms near-misses, senior midfielder Grace Mack laid one at the feet of Savage; the forward dribbled in and shot OA to a 5-3 advantage at 22:46, securing a hat trick.
Following a 2-minute water break on the muggy night, Oldenburg got right back to work on the restart, getting some help from the Red Devils. Sophomore Izzy Hornbach approached the goal from the left side and attempted a pass. The RHS defense pinballed the ball for an own goal and a 3-score deficit.
For OA’s coach, the lead was secondary to steps his team is taking to make noise in October, should a return trip to Forest Park’s regional be in the cards.
“I look at a game more in the way we’re playing and how we’re going to improve to have success against really competitive teams,” he said. “How we’re shifting, how we’re swinging the ball to both sides ... I don’t think we did that very well tonight. We have to do a better job of utilizing the entire field.”
Richmond scored its final goal at 13:19 when Riley Wetzel’s reverse kick carried past Wachsmann into the back of the net.
Despite surrendering four goals, the Lady Twister defense was commended by their coach.
“My defense is rock solid and doing everything I ask them to do,” said Hronek. “Because we’re forcing the ball down the middle of the field, that forces them to work that much harder.”
Minutes later, Olivia Geers deflected a ball over the goal to preserve the 2-score margin.
After a series of OA corner kicks and another Wachsmann save, Savage capped things off with her fourth goal with 36 ticks left (Kathryn Wilder assist).
To start the match, the Twister offense got off a handful of clean shots. Savage broke the scoreless tie at 31:31 with a diagonal left-footer. At 20:58, the Red Devils got an equalizer courtesy of Jayci Allen.
OA (6-1) played New Castle Saturday (results not available) and welcomes Indianapolis Bishop Chatard Saturday afternoon.