In first girls soccer Homecoming Game, GVS gets draw against Hill-Murray

Breandan Gibbons, Online Sports Editor

Homecoming at SPA, for years has been basically the same. There have been the Pep Fest games rigged for seniors, the storming of the field running through a Girls Varsity Soccer practice, the Spartan football team playing the homecoming game, and Soccer Saturday. This year it was a little different. There was no Friday night football game because of the Wolfpack co-op. So, the athletic department decided that we should celebrate one of the most historically successful teams in SPA history, the Girls Varsity Soccer team. They experienced the kind of excitement and energy that comes along with a homecoming game for the first time on Friday Oct. 2. “It was awesome” sophomore Hayley Hoffmann said, “I know that I was so excited before the game started and everyone else was too…It was just awesome”. The stands at Historic Lang Field were packed beyond their limits, and there were huge masses of people all around the field bringing a kind of energy that the football team experienced for their homecoming games.

When Belle got hit, it snapped us back into the game.”

— Head Coach, Ben Bollinger-Danielson

GVS was able to channel this energy into early offense when sophomore Hayley Hoffmann lofted in an inviting cross to junior Lauren Hansen who, when trying to settle the ball down, lost control and was unable to get a shot off. The Spartans were able to maintain control in the offensive end for most of the first half, with Hill-Murray’s trips across the center coming on counterattacks. Hill-Murray had a huge chance to take a 1-0 lead on a counterattack when freshmen goalie Emma Sampson came 30 yards out of her goal and was unable to control the ball. The Pioneers, however, were also unable to get the ball for what would have been a sure tap-in. Lauren Hansen was able to get the ball up and down the wings in the first half and had a real sight for goal, sending numerous attempts towards goal. Few attempts landed on frame and none of them came to fruition, with the half ending tied at zero.

Coming out of the Senior Day celebration at half, the Spartans lost the energy that they had in the first half. Additionally, the homecoming dissipated as the sun went down along with the temperature. The Pioneers were able to have some sustained time of possesion in the second half, but they weren’t able to turn that into chances. Senior defender Claire Ristau went down about 10 minutes into the half after a nasty looking challenge by a Hill-Murray forward, which didn’t help the situation at the back any.

Just a few minutes later sophomore goalkeeper Belle Smith (who replaced Emma Sampson at the half) took a cleat to the head and stayed down for several minutes while trainers attended to her. No card was given by the referee. “When Belle got hit, it snapped us back into the game,” Head Coach Ben Bollinger-Danielson said after the game, “They [Hill-Murray] had been controlling the ball a lot more, and we were just out of it a little, and that snapped us right back into the game.”

The Spartans got back to high pressure offense with their attacking 4-3-3 formation and created chance after chance throughout the remainder of the second half, but were unable to finish. “The linkage between the defense and forwards by the mids was what set that all up” Claire Ristau said, “We (the defenders) were able to get it up the mids who were in their spots defensively and they got it up to the forwards in the right spots.”

Even with all of the pressure and chances the second half ended with the game still scoreless. During extra time the Spartans were playing with all out attack, putting chance on top of chance towards the goal but none got past the Pioneer keeper. With a minute left in the second extra period Lauren Hansen and Hayley Hoffmann were against the Pioneer keeper with a defender trailing and Hansen put the ball straight off the keepers’ hands and Hoffmann was unable to put away the rebound.

The game ended with a scoreless draw. GVS plays The Blake School, Tuesday Oct. 6, at 4:30 on Gary Aamoth Jr. Field on the Blake School-Hopkins Campus.