Leland girls play Norse to draw, improve to 5-3-2
The two draws were actually a good thing.
The Comets played rival Suttons Bay to a scoreless tie Friday, one day after rallying from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-3 tie in the final minute against Traverse City West’s junior varsity.
“That TC tie was the best game ever,” Leland junior keeper Andrea Hunt said. “We were down 2-0 in the first half and came back.
“Against Suttons Bay, we just couldn’t finish but they have a pretty good defense.”
“The tie games are small victories,” Leland coach Joe Burda said after the Suttons Bay deadlock. “It’s better than the loss column, but I would still rather fill the win column.
“The West game was great because we scored three unanswered goals. And we had every intention of beating Suttons Bay, but we were OK leaving the field with a draw.”
The Comets, now 5-3-2 after a 2-1 victory Monday against Traverse City Liberty, outshot West 17-14 in the wind-aided battle. Hunt had 11 saves. Lydia Gulow had two unassisted goals including the tying one with 27 seconds to play. Christina Rennie also scored on a penalty kick against West.
“Our midfield worked it up the left sideline to Lydia and she continued up the sideline,” Burda said. “She cut off the defender and took a shot from the left side of the 18.
There were no goal celebrations in the Suttons Bay match even though the Norse out-shot Leland 15-10.
“We played really well and we’ve improved so much since the last time we played them,” Hunt said, noting a 2-1 loss in their season opener. “But it kind of felt like we lost today.”
Jordan Smith of Suttons Bay had a couple of scoring chances. She cranked one up and over Hunt and off the cross bar in the 25th minute.
“It’s a tough shot to block for sure,” Hunt said. “You just jump and hope you get it.
Hunt, who had 15 saves in the rematch, also shut down Smith early in the second half on a one-on-one breakaway down the left side.
“I was hustling to get in there, but it was a bad angle and I was too far over,” Smith said.
Smith said she noticed Leland was much improved.
“We knew we got a little better and we had heard Leland had gotten a little better, too,” Smith said. “We didn’t take Leland for granted.”
Smith said the Norse just squandered some offensive attacks.
“We really wanted to score, but I think our passes were a little too ambitious.”
Suttons Bay coach Casey Wilcox said the Norse have had trouble scoring and it showed against Leland.
“We haven’t been able to finish for the last four or five games,” Wilcox said. “We have had the opportunities, but for some reason we just cannot get the ball in the net.”
Wilcox also took notice of the development of Leland’s program in its first year.
“Leland is definitely better than the first time we played them,” she said. “It’s not what you’d expect out of a first-year program.
“They got athletic girls and girls that know where to be on the field.”
Leland also had a couple of scoring chances. Rennie had one of eight free kicks sail just to the right of the goal midway in the first half. Another shot deflected inside the 18 appeared headed into the net when Kaitlin Gaudard ran into the goalie’s box and made a sliding non-keeper save.
“I wish we could have finished some of the scoring chances we had,” Burda said. “We created a lot if action in front of the goal and just couldn’t connect. We had seven corner kicks and most of them slipped through the goalie box untouched.”
“It would be nice to have Christina on our team,” said Wilcox, who had her on last year’s co-op team at Suttons Bay. “She’s got the biggest kick out of anyone playing girls soccer right now.
“She’s a great player.”
The Comets also beat TC Liberty as freshmen Whitney Schaub and Miranda Harrison scored goals. Gulow and Savannah Gross picked up assists. Hunt had eight saves. Liberty’s only goal was a penalty kick by Danielle Heger.
“It was another great win for the girls and the program,” Burda noted. “Now we are looking for a few more.”