New Castle News
There will be no three-peat for the Wilmington High girls soccer team this year.
The Lady Greyhounds dropped a 4-1 decision to Fairview in the semifinals of the District 10, Class A playoffs last night at General McLane High School.
Wilmington (8-9-1) had won back-to-back District 10 championships heading into the 2012 season.
“There was some more pressure on our backs being back-to-back winners,” Lady Greyhounds coach Ben Bailey said. “ I knew we had a young team though, and it was most likely going to be a rebuilding year.”
Wilmington entered the season with 10 freshman on the roster who were quickly thrown into game action. But the Lady Greyhounds put things together, finishing in second place in Region with an 8-1-1 mark to secure a postseason berth.
“We had a lot of injuries to start the season,” Bailey said. “The young girls got some good playing time and some nice experience.”
With only three graduating seniors, the roster should be able to grow together.
Hurricane Sandy stalled the start of the match, originally slated for Tuesday, but the two extra days weren’t enough to prepare Wilmington for the speed of the Lady Tigers.
“Because we were expecting them to be fast, we tried to play it differently than we normally did,” Bailey said. “It hurt us when we were down and playing to win.”
Fairview used that speed to jump out to a 2-0 lead early in the first half.
“It really seemed like their slowest girl was faster than our fastest girl,” Bailey said. “They were really fast. They took the ball down the outside and put it in the middle and had a lot of opportunities.”
Kyler Lum, the premier scorer for the Lady Greyhounds, was able to cut that deficit to 2-1 with 15 seconds left before halftime, but that was as close as the team would get.
In the second half, Fairview continued to find ways to get the ball on net. Goalkeeper Anna Miller made 15 saves for Wilmington in trying to withstand the barrage.
“I’d say they controlled about 90 percent of the game,” Bailey said. “They had a lot of shots, but most weren’t really good shots. The ones they scored on they took advantage of.”
With the score 2-1 at halftime, Bailey tried to change strategies.
“We really tried to spread it out more to open up the scoring, but with their speed it worked to their advantage,” he said. “It really opened things up offensively for them.”
Two more Fairview goals would be an end to the season and the hopes of a three-peat for Wilmington. That doesn’t discourage Bailey, who was thrilled that his young squad made the playoffs this season.
“I was shocked they even made the playoffs,” Bailey said. “We’re a young team. We’ll only get better.”