The 1-1 final was a testament Wednesday to the determination of well-matched Amherst and Lakewood girls soccer teams as the Comets and Rangers wrapped up the regular season.
The Rangers began the first half with a strong offensive drive culminating in five shots in the first 20 minutes.
Amherst answered with four shots in the same time period.
The teams settled into a defensive struggle until Ranger Halle Krebs made a shot from within a few of the bar from Michele Kissane’s left for the only goal of the half at 29 minutes into the period.
The Comets had six shots — though none on goal — while the Rangers made eight shots; two on goal and one for a goal.
Amherst coach Gary Gonzalez changed his team’s attack midway through regulation. “We switched to a 4-4-2 for the second half to try to provide even more pressure up top and keep the ball in their end and it worked. Later, we pulled them back and went to 4-3-4,” he said. “We wanted to put a lot of pressure on them. We knew there was a way in. We just had to find it.”
Amazingly, the Rangers did not have a shot in the second half as the Comets mounted drive after drive only to be frustrated, making seven shots (two on goal) without results.
Finally, with just 4:34 remaining on the clock, a pass from Ally Perkins set up a clean shot for Marissa Ramirez to score and tie the game.
A shot on goal by Tayler Strehle and shot by Kate Anderson failed to connect, giving Amherst its first tie of the season and an 8-6-1 record and 4-4-1 in the Southwestern Conference.
Kissane had three saves in goal for Amherst. Lakewood’s Rachel Lowell had five, all in the second half, for the Rangers.
“I’m very proud of them. They didn’t go into panic mode. They stayed committed to the way we asked them to play. They kept the ball on the ground, diagonals, running off the player with the ball. They stuck to it,” said Gonzalez. “They got a very well-deserved goal late. Should have had a game-winner as well.”
Photos by Carl Sullenberger | Amherst News-Times Junior Bailee Pihlblad moves the ball into Rangers territory on Wednesday. Pihlblad made four shots against Lakewood in the 1-1 tie in the season finale.