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Girls Soccer Tries to Bounce Back Against Ursuline

Posted on: September 27, 2019

The girls Varsity soccer team played their second home game of the week against a strong Ursuline Academy Lions squad on Thursday night after a tough loss on Tuesday. Though the game got away from them, Coach Mulvaney’s Spartans showed important improvements in the loss.

It’s been a roller coaster season for the Spartans, with incremental gains, hard fought games and down-to-the-wire battles that haven’t often gone their way. Tuesday’s heartbreaker against Milford was one such match-up.

Turpin seemed to take a different strategy into their rebound game against Ursuline, a perennially strong program that plays a disciplined pass-and-move attacking style. It was clear from the whistle that the Spartans were intent on emphasizing possession-oriented play against the Lions.

In the opening moments of the match, Turpin’s passing and off-the-ball movement were spot on. The Spartans repeatedly swung the ball around the back, looking to switch the field, or used their defenders to reset the attack. Their outside backs started to venture forward with overlapping runs.

Even though Turpin’s initial possession didn’t ultimately result in any shots on frame, the two sides looked evenly matched for the first ten minutes, staying mostly between the boxes. While the Lions couldn’t get past Turpin’s back line, the Spartans usually got hung up around the 50, consistently missing an entry pass in to Ursuline territory - but they avoided the kind of hopeful long ball game that they’d been playing.

The first shot from either team came 11 minutes in to the game from Ursuline, which touched off a flurry of offensive activity from the visiting side, earning them three corners in as many minutes - all of which were cleared.

Midfielder Claire Klimkowski took the first shot for the Spartans five minutes later from nearly point blank range. With that, the home team’s offense began to click. Midfielder Ella Tierney sent in several crosses, and, on the opposite side of the field, Kerianne White got in behind the backline. Ursuline’s keeper was forced to make an aggressive move off her line to prevent White’s shot.

With 13 minutes left in the half, Ursuline put the first point on the board with a great individual effort from the top corner of the 18. Their second came six minutes later off a cross into the box to an open player at the top of the box.

Despite some well-placed entry passes into the Lions’ penalty box in the closing minutes of the half by midfielder CeCi Malagari, Turpin couldn’t capitalize. Then, Victoria King led a last-minute series of attacks, getting on the end of strong passing play twice only to have the Lions’ keeper smother her attempts. The half ended with the Spartans down by two.

Turpin came out at the start of the second half with renewed energy. They continued connect with one another and build up the attack. On defense, they worked to limit the Lions’ opportunities.

Despite great effort by the home side, Ursuline put a third goal in close to the start of the second with the help of a set piece from outside the 18 and an awkward bounce. The Lions’ fourth goal was scored close to the end of the game after a corner on the second ball in.

As the game wound down, the Spartans were still trying to keep the passing game going, but couldn’t get on the board. At the end of regulation, Ursuline had won by a score of 4-0.

Though the result was disappointing, Coach Mulvaney praised his team’s continuous improvement. “We are striving to press forward in every game. As we prepare for next week’s matches, we will be looking to create more opportunities in the attacking third of the field by making runs out of the back.”

The Spartans showed spurts of excellent passing and played with intent in this match. They look ahead to two emotional contests against rival Anderson and non-conference opponent Seton for Senior Night this week.