Price assist, goal tip game
Things hadn't been going poorly for the De Soto girls soccer team, especially considering it entered Tuesday's showdown against Cair Paravel 2-0.
The Wildcats couldn't help but smile a little wider after they made it 3-0, however. Not only did they have to come from behind to do it -- a pair of De Soto goals inside the last five minutes broke the game open -- Nicole Radcliff led the way. De Soto's all-time leading goal scorer got on the board for the first time in the 2007 season, adding two to her career total.
"Give Cair Paravel credit," De Soto coach Darren Erpelding said of the close game. "They were better than I thought they'd be. We came out and didn't play really well. The windy and wet conditions didn't help, but we were able to grind it out and come away with the win."
It was another one of De Soto's powerful scorers that finally slowed some fast hearts Tuesday night.
Radcliff's second goal gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead, but Cair Paravel tapped in an easy score on a crossing shot to tie it back up with 15 minutes remaining in the game.
Danielle Price found a way to answer back nine minutes later. She launched a ball inbounds from the far sideline, over the majority of both teams' players, all of whom jumped and swung their heads to no avail.
The ball finally came down to the foot of De Soto senior Janeth Jacobo, waiting patiently on the opposite side of the net. She deflected it in from a point blank range and De Soto had the lead.
Price ensured the Cats had nothing at all to worry about with three minutes remaining. She broke free, drew the goalie from the box and flicked De Soto's fourth score around the stumbling keeper and into the net.
"I was just trying to get it across and hoping someone could get something on it," Price said of the go-ahead goal. "Luckily Janeth did, and it was great. We really needed to pick it up. Everyone started to hustle a lot at the end because we all really wanted that win."
Radcliff's score lacked a bit of that drama, but the first especially was equally stunning.
The Cats trailed after a poorly played ball was knocked in 25 minutes into the first half. The De Soto junior made amends with a strike of her own, however. She broke free between a pair of defenders and managed to keep the ball a half step ahead of them as she blitzed down the field.
Radcliff approached to within 25 yards, pulled up and away, momentarily giving her some separation from the pursuers, then smashed a shot four feet off the ground, easily past the goalie and into the net.
Her second came on a penalty shot early in the second half. Jeni Hill was tackled at the top of the box setting the shot up, and Radcliff deposited the gift to the goalie's right side.
"Finally Nicole got off the snide, and it was nice," Erpelding said. "It was huge and it helped get her confidence back. Once she scored that first one, her swagger came back and that was good."
Price also came up big in De Soto's first game of the week, a 3-2 Thursday victory against Basehor-Linwood.
Carly Stanley scored first and Price helped De Soto to a 2-1 lead when a corner kick deflected off the Basehor goalie's goal-side hand, right into the net.
Basehor tied the game again with 11:39 remaining in the second half, but Price again bounced one off the goalie on a corner kick, this time a high, arching kick that deflected off the keeper's shin guard. De Soto's Tami Crow and a pack of other players crowded in front of the goal, blinding the goalie's view and setting up the 3-2 victory.
De Soto is next in action Thursday as it heads to Tonganoxie. The Chieftains will be playing just their third game, this being their first year as a program.
The Wildcats then host Ottawa Tuesday.
"We're not even close yet," Erpelding said Tuesday. "We didn't turn the pressure on until late in the game and we struggled with pressure on us. That's got to change because here over the next week, that's the way it's going to be all the time."