San Antonio – An aggressive and exciting match complete with an ejected head coach ended in a dog-pile of excitement for St. Mary’s, as a golden goal made by Leia Kirch closed out Lubbock Christian 3-2 in overtime Saturday at Northside ISD Soccer Field.
The Rattlers had to step up their game to compete against this fierce team – and they did just that, with Kirch emphatically connecting in the 108th minute.
“As aggressive as they were, it forced us to make quicker decisions than we’re used to,” Rattlers coach Corwyn Ritch said. “But overall, we were able to adapt and we created lots and lots of chances.”
The Rattlers had a strong offensive first half, taking a quick 2-0 lead with goals by freshmen newcomers Ashleigh Wells (Fr., Dallas) and Kaitie Kasperitis (Fr., Corpus Christi, Texas), with Wells being assisted by junior Carolyn Martin, a San Antonio native.
Goalkeeper Mari Edwards (Jr., Apex, N.C.) kept Lubbock Christian in check with four saves, defending the Rattlers’ shot to pull out a victory and enabling them to continue the fight in overtime.
In all the excitement, Lubbock Christian head coach Babak Abouzar was ejected from the game, fueling the fire of an already pumped-up Lubbock Christian (0-2) squad, as LCU overcame a 2-0 deficit to even the score in the second half.
However, St. Mary’s (2-0) wasn’t rattled and knows its win after this intense game will benefit them in their preparation for the rest of the season.
“It’s good that we played a team like this now so we can learn from our mistakes,” said Kirch, whose game-winner marked her second goal of the year. “It’s pretty early on, but I know we can do it. We just need to play our game and settle down.”
“I love being able to win, and that dog pile was the best celebration we ever had,” said Kirch, referring to the surge of excitement after her goal, which caused St. Mary’s bench to clear with the players overwhelmed by the victory.
Kirch was assisted by another newcomer freshman, Leah Snelson (So., Dallas), who also had two goal attempts that were shot on goal.
The defeat over Lubbock Christian brings the Rattlers to 2-0 and prepares them for a rewarding season ahead. The St. Mary’s Rattlers take on Missouri Southern State University in their next quest for victory on Sun., Sept. 11 at Northside ISD Soccer Field.