SOCCER Short-handed Poland triumphs
The Bulldogs had only 10 players for most of their 2-1 win over archrival Canfield.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- Jim Sutman gathered the Poland High girls soccer team together and tried to contain himself. He failed.
"The girls were laughing at me," said Sutman, in his seventh season as coach. "My voice was cracking."
Sutman was overcome with emotions after the Bulldogs, playing one girl short following an early ejection, defeated Canfield 2-1 in a Metro Athletic Conference game Wednesday at Canfield High Stadium.
Taryn Carlson's goal from 30 yards out with less than six minutes remaining won the game for Poland (5-1, 3-0) and completed its rally from a 1-0 deficit.
"Taryn Carlson's shot was absolutely amazing," Sutman said.
Long-range shot: Carlson maneuvered herself into open space in the middle of the field and launched a shot with her left foot that carried through the air. When the ball landed, Poland's improbable comeback was complete.
"She has a quiet strength," Sutman said. "She doesn't blast the ball real hard, but she hit it perfectly. It arced back in toward the goal."
Carlson said, "This is incredible. I can't believe it. We all worked hard; it was a team effort. It wasn't just me that scored that goal; it was the whole team."
Ejection: The odds were clearly against Poland after defender Megan Bair, trying to stop Kelly Williams' head shot on goal, caught the ball in front of the net with 22 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first half. The penalty resulted in a red card and automatic ejection.
"It was instinct -- you don't want the other team to score, [you] do what you can," Sutman said of Bair, who will have to sit out the next two games.
"I can't fault her for it. She was trying to help her team by not letting the ball go in."
Williams' ensuing penalty kick put the Cardinals ahead 1-0, but Poland fought its way back.
"Sometimes that can inspire a team," Canfield coach Dennis Opritza said of Poland's shortage. "We've been there and done that ourselves."
Sutman said, "I told them, 'Let's just survive the first half.' At halftime, I told them, 'We can do this. The worst is over.' "
Tying goal: Trying to find a way to rally his team, Sutman moved midfielder Krista Ginnetti to forward. Three minutes into the second half, she drew out Canfield keeper Noelle Zalac and fired the ball into the net, tying the score at 1.
"I tried to put our aggressive players up top," Sutman said. "But this [win] had nothing to do with me. They took it into their own hands."
Canfield (2-4, 2-2), which lost starting forward Amy Doran to a knee injury prior to the regular season, had several chances in the closing minutes but couldn't finish its attack.
"We're struggling to put the ball in the net," Opritza said. "It's been that way all season. It's something we've been working on, and it's something we'll continue to work on. Hopefully, we'll turn that around."