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Sherwood girls soccer uses two second half goals to pick up first win of 2021 season.

PHOTO BY JAIME VALDEZ-PAMPLIN MEDIA - Sherwood girls soccer's Ella Weathers (4) after scoring the Bowmen's first goal in the second half against Grant at Sherwood High School.The top 10 matchup between Grant and Sherwood High School girls socceron Tuesday, Sept. 14, appeared to be in favor of the Generals, who came in not allowing a goal in their first three games while the Bowmen had only scored two.

But that's why they play the games.

Sherwood put up two second-half goals to hand Class 6A No. 2-ranked Grant its first loss of and gave the No. 9 Bowmen their first.

Here are three takeaways from the pitch:

Finding a rhythm

While Grant (3-1) finished the match outshooting Sherwood, 10-9, the Bowmen's attempts came closer and louder throughout the match.

The first half was more breakaways and transitions, but the second half became more set pieces and junior Ella Weathers broke open the scoring on a well-placed entry pass in the 57th minute.

With under four minutes to play, senior Amanda Gribble sealed the deal with a rebound shot that came off the crossbar.

Breaking through a Generals' line that hadn't allowed a goal in three matches gives the Bowmen a new sense of confidence on offense.

"I felt we played really well together, we played quick and we learned off of previous mistakes from other games, not to hold onto the ball so long," Gribble said.

Playing quick and together is what Bowmen coach Katie Hartman has been looking for as communication is key on the pitch.

Hartman thought her team turned a corner and hopes it learn the valuable communication lesson.

"That first goal was a beautiful goal," Hartman said. "That was a clinical finish goal and I think that just opened the floodgates for us that, 'We can do this, we can score.' It gave us more confidence going forward for that second goal."

Goalie show

Both sides put on a great show defensively, starting with Generals' starter Michaela McCollum.

The junior made four saves in the first half, including a fully-stretched diving attempt and another one later where she slid and took a hit to the body.

For Sherwood, Tali Kozma finished with six saves, including a couple later in the match after her squad scored the first goal.

"I think communication, it's a really big part of what we've been working on and training," Sherwood senior Ellie Schmidt said on the defense overall. "Our goalkeepers do a really good job communicating to our back line … We're pretty strong defensively."

Grant coach Manolis Tjuanakis feels the same way with his two goalies, which includes second-half starter Abby Winkler.

"I tell them, 'You pick who's going to start, I don't care,' because I'm very confident in both of them," Tjuanakis said. "They bring this energy to the game and I think most of all they bring a very big comfort to the defensive line."

Not shying away

Part of the reason the Bowmen were winless coming in but still ranked was because of their tough schedule playing the likes of Wells, Jesuit, Mountainside and Lakeridge.

Grant marked yet another tough opponent, but that's just the way Hartman and her squad like it.

"We do it on purpose," Hartman said. "We want to play and compete with the best to see where we're at and to prepare us.

"As much as we have taken losses and ties and injuries, I don't think girls would want it any other way."

Grant has played an interesting schedule as well, coming into the match ranked No. 2 in the OSAA coaches' poll and No. 1 in the OSAA rankings thus far.

While the victories have come, bodies for the Generals have been tough to come by with numerous injuries.

However, despite the injuries and the loss Tuesday, Tjuanakis is proud of their resiliency and how they fired off four more shots after the first goal.

"I was pleased with how they came back," Tjuanakis said. "I like the way they responded and they didn't put their heads down. It's a good lesson moving forward."

Austin White
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