Eleven minutes left in regulation, Holland Patent took one of its few corner kicks on the Clinton soccer field.
A large crowd - especially given the early start Saturday morning - lined the side of the field near the street where the Knights player lined up for her shot. So far in the game, the third meeting of these two Section Three Class B defending co-champs, neither team had sent the ball in the goal.
Clinton had controlled the offense in a majority of the game, somewhat expected as this season the Warriors had twice beaten Holland Patent. While it’s said so often it’s almost a cliche, it’s true. It’s tough to be the same team three times in a season.
Clinton’s girls varsity soccer team learned that heart-breaking lesson Saturday, when two minutes after the corner kick cleared by Mia Lopata put the ball at midfield, the Knights earned a direct kick from the same sideline. This time a hard blasted shot to the far corner got by goalie Kaitlyn Williams and held up as the game’s only score in the sectional second-round game.
That these two teams met in their second game of playoffs and not the final speaks to the strength this year of Class B girls soccer. Despite that, the Warriors ran off another successful season, winning 16 games, tying once and losing just twice while outscoring opponents 78-8 and being listed in the state rankings all season.
From the opening minutes Clinton put pressure on the Holland Patent defense to prevent the Warriors from this season being the team that played on. For while the teams split the sectional title, it was HP that advanced in a shootout.
Clinton’s Maddie Luke, Graci Dreimiller and Gwen Williams repeatedly led the scoring charges, looking more to pass as HP was all too familiar with their...