The Clover High School girls’ soccer team lost Monday’s AAAA playoff opener at Dorman 5-1.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead with seconds left in the first half, Dorman booted the ball through the net before time expired.
“We thought the official was gonna call game,” said Lady Blue Eagle head coach Kelsey Geary. “It was almost a minute over the 40 of the first half. The second our goalkeeper (Carmen McCarter) played the ball up field, we were waiting on a whistle because there wasn’t any injury time.”
Added Geary: “I think what happened was Carmen came out of the net to take care of the ball and it got deflected. Kind of one of those situations where it just didn’t go our way to get us out of the half with a 1-0 score.”
Clover freshman J’menii Isaac scored to the left of the net at the 32:40 mark of the second half to make the score 2-1.
“I wanted to get around the defender,” said Isaac. “I passed her and that helped get the ball into the net. It was a sharp angle using my left foot.”
The successful boot by Isaac shifted the momentum in favor of the CHS team but Dorman answered with a goal.
“When they got the third goal, we had to press and went to a 3-4-3,” said Geary. “I think one thing with Dorman, they’re big and they’re strong. With us being so young, it’s that caliber of play Dorman brings.
“Not necessarily that we couldn’t play with them, we definitely could. They had an advantage on winning 50-50 balls, shoulder tackling and things of that nature.”
Geary said Dorman was a good team.
“They’re organized and disciplined,” she said. “A lot of their girls play club ball on some really top-notch teams. It’s just one of those things. We threw everything we could at them and just came up short.”
Though disappointed with the loss, Geary lauded the Clover team.
“We definitely had our moments, even though we’re young with only five seniors,” she said. “I think the freshmen stepped up and played big for us.
“I don’t think they knew really how well they were doing. It was unexpected for them. They know now what a playoff game is all about, emotions running high, physical play, and the pace is very quick. They did a nice job.”
Laila Rojas, a senior, knows what it takes to return to title-contention.
“We have to keep pushing, keep pushing to come back when we’re down,” she said. “We continued to play hard tonight, just trying to get the energy up. We tried hard to get that win tonight.”
Rojas has played organized soccer for 13 years.
“Soccer is the love of my life,” she said. “Everyone in my family played soccer.”
Rojas offers advice to youngsters aspiring to play high school soccer.
“Work hard,” she said. “It’s not gonna be easy at all. If you continue to work hard and really want what you think you deserve, everything will come to you
With an influx of young talent meshing with experienced personnel, Geary believes the best is yet to come. “I think me and the rest of the coaches are pretty excited,” she said. “The future is very promising.”