Tuesday night at Paul Cline Memorial Stadium, Woodrow Wilson and Princeton entered their girls soccer match with two distinctly different levels of confidence.
When the final horn sounded, both teams walked off the pitch with two distinctly different levels of frustration.
Entering the match as what was thought to be a decided underdog, the Tigers were able to survive a second-half onslaught of shots from the Flying Eagles to earn a 2-2 draw.
“It was a really weird match. We played them in the Kick-o-Rama before the season and they beat us pretty bad,” Princeton head coach Michelle Dye said. “So, we really didn’t know what to expect. I am extremely proud of the girls because they executed what we have been working on. There is a lot we need to improve on, but they definitely played well tonight.”
As could be expected, Woodrow Wilson head coach Julie Agnor did not share her counterpart’s excitement.
“Very disappointing. It’s hard when you control the game, but we have been struggling with shooting. I think that is one of the most disappointing parts of it,” Agnor lamented. “We set the field beautifully. The girls play well, and they are fantastic passers. They are fantastic movers, but we are just struggling shooting.”
Playing in a steady rain all night, Woodrow Wilson scored first when freshman Abby Dillon turned a fired a blast at the Princeton keeper.
What appeared to be an easy save turned otherwise in the wet conditions. Dillon’s blast slipped through the keepers’ hands for the game’s first goal just four minutes into the game.
Sydney Vaught also took advantage of the wet turf in the 26th minute with a blast that accelerated past the keeper into the left corner of the net.
“I told them to start shooting. You have to play to your advantages and with the ground as slick as it was, that was the whole point. I wanted them to just nail them in and they went for us,” Agnor said.
Each time Princeton fell behind, it had the equalizer in senior Sadie Boggess.
Boggess’ first goal came on a penalty kick in the 14th minute after Woodrow Wilson was called on a foul inside the box.
The foul did not set well with the Flying Eagles.
“In my personal opinion, that was not a foul worthy of a PK. There really wasn’t a foul,” Agnor said. “My player had her arms trying to keep her balance. The girl kept pushing in her back and it really should not have been a foul.”
To even the match at 2-2, Boggess made a nice play to beat the defender in the 32nd minute.
“The first half I felt like we were on top it. We had things together offensively and defensively. We were able to punch two in. We were fortunate one of them was a penalty kick. The second one, Sadie had a beautiful shot,” Dye said.
The second half was all Woodrow Wilson who attacked relentlessly for 40 minutes. The problem for the Flying Eagles was none of their shots found the back of the net.
Seven corner kicks and a set piece from just outside the box all went array. A direct kick that was blasted from outside the box was loose for what seemed to be eternity, but Woodrow could not capitalize on several chances.
With the pressure mounting early in the second half, Dye made a crucial change for her team.
“The second half, Woodrow definitely had us on the physical fitness part of it. Our girls were kind of gassed,” Dye said. “We focused more on our defense because they were just pounding us. We put Sadie Boggess in goal and Lauren Parish back and that was kind of our lifeline.”
Boggess came up with seven saves in the second half to help her team survive the Woodrow attackers.
“We have been talking at practice about hitting the corners and hitting the far post. We fell short today and stayed at near post and kept it in the keeper,” Agnor said.
Earning a tie on the road against a sectional foe was a huge positive for her team according to Dye.
“We are kind of a work in progress. We lost several key players, and some players didn’t return this year,” Dye said. “We have a lot of new players, but we have seen a huge improvement since the start of the season. This win is big,
and it was against Woodrow who is always strong. I am really satisfied with a tie in this game.”
Woodrow Wilson travels to Riverside Saturday for its next match at 11 a.m. Princeton travels to Oak Hill Thursday for a 6 p.m. match with another sectional foe in the Red Devils.