The Lakeridge girls soccer team was on the verge of a tie against sixth-ranked Barlow.
But the Pacers were also on the verge of defeat when Barlow senior Abi Hoffman hit a rocket toward the Pacers' goal with time running out in their Wednesday, Sept. 11, contest at Barlow High School.
Lakeridge goalkeeper Abby Pressnell made sure her team didn't lose, though, tipping away Hoffman's last-ditch effort at the horn, allowing the Pacers to secure a 1-1 draw against Barlow in an early-season clash of top-10 teams on Wednesday, Sept. 11.
Hoffman ran onto the ball about 40 yards out and took a couple touches into space when she got a glance at the scoreboard. Only a few seconds remained. It was enough time for her to shift her body and let loose with a rocket shot that carried high through the air toward the Lakeridge goal.
"I just was thinking 'I've gotta get this. There is no way I can let this in,'" Pressnell said. "I just jumped and reached for it."
She was forced to leave her feet to tip the ball away from the top corner of the goal as the horn sounded.
"It was going in, but the goalie got a fingertip on it and saved it," Barlow coach Jay Jacobsen said. "At that stage of the game, there are tired legs on both sides and it comes down to hustle and will power — 1-1 feels like a pretty fair result."
The intensity ratcheted up a notch over the final 20 minutes, as both sides realized the next goal would likely win the match.
As it turned out, that winning goal would not come, but not for lack of opportunity.
Not long after netting the tying goal, Hoffman set up for another chance, this time off a free kick from near the sideline. She booted it cleanly past the Pacers' three-person wall, forcing Pressnell — the 2018 Three Rivers League Player of the Year — to make a cradle stop at the near post.
Moments later, Lakeridge flipped the field when Tessa French fended off a Barlow midfielder to maintain possession, then twisted by a defender to get off a bouncing shot to the near post.
French maintained a pesky presence in the backfield, pressuring two separate Barlow defenders and forcing a dangerous pass back to Barlow keeper Elizabeth Springer, who stepped up and booted the ball out of the zone.
"We got to the goal a few times and I felt like we had most of the possession," French said. "We gave a full effort. No one had anything left at the end."
A few minutes later, action sped the other way with Barlow's Willow Manwiller splitting a pair of Pacers at midfield and maintaining her balance to send the ball ahead to Abbie Nelson, who was running into a potential 1-on-1 chance against the keeper. Lakeridge defender Jenna Barouh saved the day by making up a couple quick strides and bumping the Barlow attacker off the ball before she could fire a shot.
Once again, the field flipped in a flash and near the 10-minute mark, Lakeridge's Sydney Okoneski hit a low roller through traffic that sent Barlow's Springer diving to the post to make the save.
Two minutes later, Springer came up big again. This time, she stepped in front of a Lakeridge player at the mouth of the goal to knock down a Pacer corner kick with both hands. She collected the ball quickly, while moving away from the goal.
Lakeridge tried again with French and Emma Krauss combining on a touch-and-go deep in Bruins' territory. Krauss saw her crossing attempt go untouched the width of the field, but the ball worked its way back to the middle where French ran onto it for an open blast 15 yards out, but her attempt went high and over the crossbar.
Barlow created an unlikely chance when Hoffman faced a double-team near the midfield line. She had her back to the Pacers' defenders when she flicked the ball waist high and sent a blind bicycle kick into the Bruins' offensive end. Teammate Mikayla Topaum ran onto the ball, but her shot from 30 yards went wide.
"Their danger players up front gave us a real test tonight and our players rose to the occasion," Lakeridge coach Karl Granlund said.
Lakeridge senior Megan McCormack buried a shot into the top half to give the Pacers the lead six minutes into the match.
Barlow evened the score 10 minutes into the second half when Mikayla Topaum and Hoffman combined on a give-and-go that ended with Hoffman sending a laser over the goalie's head.
View photos at davidball.smugmug.com.
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