Girls' Soccer - Varsity
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In one of the oddest games of the season, both in terms of flow and feel, Taft traveled to Westminster before a two game home stand. On a drizzly, chilly day the Big Red would start strong and be rewarded for it, earning a hard-nosed win. It is never easy to adjust to the massive size and slower pace of the Westminster pitch. This day was no exception but the visiting Rhinos would weather an early push from the hosts and then sustain possession deep in the Westminster end. Off of a failed clear blocked by Kayla Thomas '20, Jamie Howie '17 would earn a corner kick when her shot was blocked and sent over the bar. Thomas would find the end of an Eveliina Kuitunen '20 cross and crush a shot off the crossbar. Amanda Graziano '21 would be the first to the rebound and head a ball towards the open net. The Westminster defender would grab the ball intentionally, preventing the goal. The defender would receive a red card for the play and Taft would receive a penalty kick. Patience Kum '21 would step to the line and slide the ball home for Taft's first goal. Up a player for the remaining 73 minutes of the match, Taft would hold possession for much of the day but still need a tremendous effort from the back line of Juliana Yamin '18, Mary Alice Ewing '18, Taylor Jacobs '18, and Elly MacKay '20 as the Westminster strikers were attacking to get back into the game. They were up to the task and Katie Piechnik '18 was forced to make only one brilliant save on the day. Piechnik's save was crucial as it kept Taft in the lead and let the Big Red find a cushion goal. Off of a combination between Ewing and Kristina Cornelio '20 got the ball deep to the Westminster box, an attempted clear would be corralled by Kristin Manfreda '18. Without pause, Manfreda would take advantage of the rapid change of possession and shoot from beyond 30 yards, catching the Westy goalie off guard. The ball found the back of the net and Taft would hold a 2-0 score. The second half would not find more goals. Westy played counter-attack soccer, sitting in with their midfielders and then trying to pick their opportunities going forward. Their strikers were fast and athletics and Taft would need to stay focused to mitigate opportunities against. On a day it was not easy, the Big Red was up for the challenge to earn a 2-0. It never felt like the Rhinos fully clicked but for a Class A, Founders League game on the road towards the end of the season the result is an important one. Taft will host Ethel Walker on Saturday for their Senior Day. Kickoff is set for 3:30.