Sometimes, in the most wearying of games on the pitch, it takes a moment of sheer brilliance and invention to make the difference.
Northwestern forward Ashli Siggins’ sublime 16-yard chip-shot goal broke a 77- minute deadlock between the South Pointe Stallions and the Trojans. The sophomore’s fifth goal of the season solidified a 1-0 win Tuesday night, earning Northwestern (8-2, 3-2 in 4A) more bragging rights over their cross-town rival.
The Trojans beat South Pointe in double overtime earlier last month.
“We fought all the way to the very end,” Siggins said after the match, “It’s always important to keep at it and keep making chances.”
Cesar Robles’ team put the visiting Stallions under immense pressure in the opening stages with Siggins providing dangerous opportunities for fellow striker Kristen Curley. The pair linked up in the 20th minute, but Curley’s tame effort found the midsection of South Pointe goalkeeper Shelby Champion.
By halftime, Northwestern had outshot South Pointe 6-1. Junior defender Kathleen Barkley’s looping effort from just inside the Stallion penalty box beat Champion but failed to hit the target.
Robles said his team’s ability to find shots from all over the pitch will be useful as the Trojans head deeper into region play.
“One of the things I ask of them is to let their qualities shine through, to play with more conviction,” Robles said. “If we can look to get every player a cross, it creates a lot of mismatches.”
Northwestern’s stout flat-back defense continued to bend, but not break, against South Pointe’s occasional threats. Sophomore Grayson Chappell had the Stallion’s first shot on goal of the afternoon in the 65th minute of play, courtesy of senior Shelly Restificar’s corner.
An antsy home crowd looked resigned for overtime when Sarah Eddy’s shot from 10 yards out missed wide of the target with four minutes left in regulation.
Siggins decided to make her move.
Bursting into the left side of the Stallion penalty box, the sophomore found herself closed down by two South Pointe defenders. Taking a small touch to the side, she created just enough separation from her markers to hit a long, looping chip over Champion and into the net.
Siggins thrust her arms in the air, relieved. Three minutes later, her whole team did the same, assured of their second straight win over South Pointe this year.
“We created so many chances and if we put them away, it would have been a fair score to have won 3-0,” Robles said of his team. “But overall, I’m extremely proud of them for putting it away when they needed to.”
Northwestern will return to the field to play rival Rock Hill at home on Thursday at 7 p.m.