In a battle for the top spot in Division II-AA East Region soccer, GPS held off Baylor in a 1-0 victory.
The high winds and fall temperatures were prevalent, but that didn’t stop the crowd from creating an atmosphere that was about as good as it gets for high school soccer. Students, parents, and supporters from both schools lined the bleachers and fences and screamed for the game’s entirety - celebrating every play and arguing every call.
GPS was on the prowl in the first half and seemingly dominated the ball.
Their defense prevented goalie Farah House from having to do much work, while their offense was relentless in their attack.
Unlike last week when the Bruisers narrowly beat CCS and lost another, GPS was able to convert early on the pressure they put on the opposing goalie. To no surprise, Kennedy Ball was a game-changer for the Bruisers. Ball moves quicker and stronger through contact than just about anyone put out there against her, and that leads to a ton of goal opportunities. One of which was a 15th-minute attack from the star Senior. After controlling a pass from her teammate, Ball beat her defender and then took on the goalie one-on-one. Rarely does that end well for the defense, and that held true as she crossed the goalie up for a walk-in goal to give her squad the 1-0 lead.
Another big part of the pressure they put on the goalie was Hayden Wise, who was impressive on the attack. The Captain was feisty, but with finesse. While she was rarely the one putting shots on goal, she constantly fought off defenders to keep possession and set up teammates for good looks.
GPS didn't stop there, as they kept up the heat on the goalie for the rest of the half. Around the 30-minute mark, things got scary for Baylor as Ball drew all the defensive attention and set up Sasha Carbone for a one-on-one shot with goalie Sara Hill. Fortunately for Baylor, Carbone didn’t capitalize on the opportunity and missed wide right. Shortly after Hill boomed the ball away, GPS moved it back and struck a great ball, one that looked unsavable, but in an impressive display of athleticism, Hill rose up and deflected it out of bounds.
Aside from the goal from Ball, which was more her skill than on the goalie, the Junior keeper played a flawless game. Time and time again in both halves, she made great stops and reads to keep the ball out of her net.
The second half was almost the complete opposite. This time, Baylor was the aggressor, and GPS keeper Farah House showed her talent. House did a great job stopping shots when they got to her, but an even better job stopping them before they ever could with her communication. The Freshman looked like a senior in how she directed traffic and was vital in the team defense.
The last seven minutes were chaotic. In the time, both teams were uber-aggressive. This caused GPS to receive two yellow cards while Baylor had several shots on goal and a handful of corner and free kicks in the last two minutes which added to the competition between the two two stellar squads.
Unfortunately for the visitors, they never could get the ball in the back of the net. They had plenty of great looks as they played with urgency, but the GPS defense stayed solid and held off the Baylor attack to walk away with a 1-0 victory and sole possession of first place in the region.
BAYLOR 0 0 - 0
GPS 1 0 - 0
GOAL SCORERS: Kennedy Ball 1 (GPS)