BERLIN- Despite a gutsy performance by goalkeeper Leigh Ann Flounlacker and the defense playing in front of her, the Stephen Decatur girls’ varsity soccer team lost a tough match on Monday, falling to visiting James M. Bennett, 2-1, in overtime.
The two Bayside Conference rivals slugged it out for 80 minutes and were tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation before the Clippers settled the issue once and for all with an overtime goal to get away with the 2-1 win. Both teams applied pressure on their opponent’s goal throughout the contest, but Bennett was relentless.
The Clippers dominated the middle of the field for much of the match, setting up a short field for the offense, but Flounlacker and the Decatur defense were equal to the task. The Seahawk keeper made save after big save throughout much of the first half and the match. In one sequence, Bennett attacked the Decatur goal in a fast break and got a one-on-one opportunity at the 22:30 mark of the first half, but Flounlacker made a great diving save to knock the ball away from the corner of the net at the last second.
At the 14:34 mark, Decatur was pressuring the Bennett goal when the Clippers cleared the ball setting up a fast break. The Bennett forward collided with a Seahawk just outside the penalty box, sending the defender sprawling. The big home crowd moaned for a penalty, but the two players clearly got their legs tangled and there was no call.
The Bennett forward then made a nice move to elude the diving Flounlacker and fired a shot into the lower left corner for the first goal of the game. After several raids on the Decatur goal, the Clippers finally got one by the Seahawk keeper and led, 1-0, with just over 14 minutes remaining in the first half.
The score remained 1-0 for the rest of the first half, although it could have been much worse for the Seahawks. Decatur Coach Misty Bunting urged her team at halftime to turn up the intensity and her players responded by coming out energized to start the second half. The Seahawks turned the tables in the Clippers, applying relentless pressure on the goal, but could not get that one extra pass or a clean look at the Bennett goal as the clock ticked down.
Finally, Taylor Blazer tied the game in the latter part of the second half and score was 1-1 at the end of regulation. However, Bennett scored early in overtime to escape with the 2-1 win. Despite the loss, the Seahawks had to be proud of their defense, led by Flounlacker, who finished with 20 saves.