GREEN — An early goal was all the Wadsworth girls soccer team needed to beat Green 1-0 in a nonleague match Saturday afternoon at Green Memorial Stadium.
“It was a very resilient win for us,” Grizzlies coach Paul Williford said. “They’re a very talented team that came at us constantly, so this was a good builder for us going forward, knowing we can buckle down and play defense the way we need to.”
Wadsworth (6-1-3) piled on the pressure early, culminating in a goal that came less than 10 minutes into the contest. Grizzlies senior midfielder Teddi Farson dribbled down the right side of the penalty box before unleashing a tight-angle shot. The ball slipped through Green goalkeeper Lilly Jakuszewski’s fingertips, and junior defender Brooke Knapp was there to head the ball in before it crossed the goal line.
Wadsworth kept the heat on the Bulldogs (3-3-4) for the rest of the first half, hitting the crossbar twice over the next 10 minutes. It looked for a moment like the Grizzlies added another goal when senior Elizabeth Talabac headed in a free kick by Taylor Leatherman, but it was negated by an offside call.
Much of the possession in the early minutes of the second half was held in midfield, with neither team having many clear-cut chances for the first 10 minutes of the period.
Williford said he was impressed by his team’s ability to remain focused in the face of a physical game.
“We just constantly reiterate keeping your composure,” Williford said. “Trust in the ref, which is sometimes hard to do but, for the most part, I think we held our composure and didn’t get carried away.”
Jakuszewski made up for her narrow miss on Wadsworth’s goal with a strong performance in the second half, saving both a point-blank shot and a penalty kick by Farson.
Despite going down early, Green stayed in the game for all 80 minutes and came close to equalizing multiple times.
The Bulldogs’ best chance came with seven minutes remaining when they earned an indirect free kick from inside the penalty box after a Wadsworth player was deemed to have improperly handled the ball. After a scrum, Wadsworth goalkeeper Jordan Barnhart was forced into a save, the last one she had to make to secure the one-goal victory.
Even though the Bulldogs didn’t get the result they were looking for, Green coach Dan Harlan said he was happy with how his players stepped up in the face of adversity.
“During the second half, we played a lot better and gave them some fits,” Harlan said. “We’ve been dealing with [adversity] all year. ... We have girls coming in and filling in some good minutes. They’re doing their job for their team. Their work rate is really, really good.”