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September 30, 2014

Dryden tames rival Bobcats

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

LANSING — It was a classic soccer match-up between two long-time Interscholastic Athletic Conference North Large School Division foes when Dryden High girls traveled to Lansing’s Sobus Field to face the host Bobcats Monday night.
Through 78 minutes of scoreless action, it took a SportsCenter highlight to determine a winner when Purple Lion junior Taylor Bennett dribbled through the entire defense to score the only goal in Dryden’s 1-0 victory.
Unbeaten Dryden moves one step closer to the division title at 10-0. Lansing falls to 6-3.
As a center-back on defense, Bennett collected a loose ball near the top of box at her own 18-yard line and headed towards the Lansing goal. After a little dip move to her left, Bennett surged straight up the field, dodged seven defenders —included a double-team — and broke free for a one-on-one with Bobcat goalkeeper Sarah Geisler. Bennett kept her run towards the right post as Geisler came out of the goal. About 25 yards from her target, Bennett made a strong push on the ball that Geisler could not react to. The shot rolled true inside the left post for the game’s lone goal.
Words don’t do justice to the outstanding play.
“I’ve been playing soccer for years,” Bennett said. “You just pick and choose your chances when you get them. I don’t get as many chances from the back line, but when I see it I do take it.
“It was a great team win,” she added. “When your team is working that hard, things like that just happen. You just have to take advantage when you can.”
“I wouldn’t care if she wasn’t my daughter,” Dryden head coach Janine Bennett said. “It’s just a gift that she is my daughter and on this team. Taylor has a passion for the game. She just loves to play and hates to lose. She found a hole and decided to take care of it. That’s what she does.
“Lansing did come out and possess the ball better in the second half,” the coach continued. “They knocked it around and put us on our heels a little. When you start chasing the ball you get a little frustrated and make poor decisions. Taylor really decided that she had had enough and put the game on her shoulders and got us a nice goal.”
DRYDEN HAD THE ball in the offensive zone much of the first half which began with a missed shot over the crossbar just 44 seconds into the match. The Purple Lions had seven shots, five on target that Geisler stopped. Geisler even grabbed the ball in the air twice on corner kicks so Dryden couldn’t get a shot off.
The best scoring chance for Dryden came with 31:22 left in the first half as Taylor Bennett boomed a kick from deep in her own zone. Keri Daley ran to the ball, got Geisler out of the goal and missed the open net to her left.
Lansing had three scoring chances. Twice Westcott made saves including a bullet from 20 yards with 16 seconds left in the half. Kristin Dake missed an open net as well when her shot sailed wide left.
The Bobcats reversed the action in the second half and they possessed the ball in the offensive zone better. Unfortunately, they really only got one good scoring opportunity off a direct kick from Michelle Schafer from 30 yards. The rising shot was grabbed by Purple Lion goalkeeper Sarah Westcott for her third and final save of the match.
Dryden did not generate much offense either and Geisler (11 saves) made three stops on balls that did head towards the goal. Most of those shots were not real dangerous. The best chance was a rising ball of Bennett’s foot with eight minutes left in the match that Geisler pulled down.
Westcott faced the more dangerous chances, but the freshman never flinched.
“Together it shows our team’s defense doesn’t allow many shots,” Westcott said. “We work together very well. Sure we have some occasional flaws, but together we work as one group. I just try my best to communicate with my teammates. That’s how I can get to where I need to be at the right time.”
“SARAH DID PLAY a great game in goal,” Coach Bennett said. “She made some quality saves that she had to make. Their shots may have been on target more, but Sarah was steady and made those routine saves. Those are the ones she is suppose to make and, once in a while, she makes that great save. That is icing on the cake and gets the team ready to play.”
Despite the loss, Lansing coach Eric Stickel praised his girls’ effort.
“I was proud of the way the girls responded after halftime,” Stickel said. “We made some adjustments and stopped playing the style Dryden wanted. We possessed the ball better, but could not put the ball in the net which has been our Achilles Heel all season.
“Sarah Geisler is a stud in goal for us,” he added. “She played well and is one of those senior leaders. This loss certainly was not on her. That was a great run by Bennett through our defense. Sarah played one heck of a game.”
As far as remaining undefeated and heading towards a division title, both Bennetts and Westcott all agree.
“It is a great effort,” Taylor Bennett said. “I am so proud of my team. I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
“It’s awesome,” Westcott replied. “I am glad I get to be the goalkeeper for this team. It’s a great opportunity as a freshman to play on this team.”
“We still have to play them (Lansing) again in a couple of weeks,” Coach Bennett said. “We are two evenly matched teams. The game could have gone either way tonight and that will be the way it will go again next time. We just have to care of things. We’ll work on the things we didn’t do well and be ready for them again in two weeks.”
Whitney Point 6, Groton 1: Visiting Groton got a first half goal from Jenna Federation, but Whitney Point dominated behind a 28-shot barrage to beat the Indians.
Katelynn Warner had a three-goal hat trick and an assist for Whitney Point, the winners also getting goals from Alex Freer, Brittany Randall and Bailey Poyer.

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