The four captains' halftime message spurred a 3-1 win.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- Before the Poland High girls soccer team played its first game of the season, an important decision was made -- the voting of the co-captains.
Those four -- Colleen Moran, Sarah Anderson, Lauren McMahon and Laura Hassay -- delivered an important halftime message that led the way to the Bulldogs' 3-1 win over Canfield Monday.
In the Metro Athletic Conference game, each team scored a goal in the first half and Poland coach Jimmy Sutman called on his captains to deliver on the trust their teammates had shown in them.
"When the team votes for captains you really never know what you're going to get," Sutman said. "We allow the girls to vote for it.
"I want to make a big point of the captains because they made a big deal when we were tied. We really needed them to step it up and they got the team to."
Anderson, a junior forward, scored twice and helped to deliver an important message at the break.
"We had been playing well in the first half," Anderson said. "In the second half all the seniors, the captains and every team member stepped it up and, looking at the final score, I think that proves it."
Anderson leads the Bulldogs (9-4-1, 6-3) with nine goals.
Moran, who reached the state cross country meet last fall, used a seemingly tireless effort to lead by example.
"She's a cross country superstar," Sutman said of the senior wing player. "No one works harder in practice than her."
Early in the game Anderson ran under a long pass and scored a 10-yard goal on a crossing shot.
"The pass was right across the field and I knew we had to get the ball into the net so we could take it from there," Anderson said.
Garland ties it
About five minutes later, Megan Garland of Canfield evened the score at 1-all. A 40-yard free kick was centered toward the goal and, after it was knocked around, Garland punched it home from 7 yards.
Then the Poland captains gave their pep talk.
"We needed to bring the team up," McMahon said. "This is the last time playing Canfield and we really needed to put it to them."
McMahon is coming off ACL surgery and wasn't expected to be a huge contributor to the Bulldogs due to the injury.
"She started tonight and, as the season has progressed, she's on the field more and more," Sutman said.
In the 58th minute Maureen Malone converted a penalty kick into a 2-1 Poland lead.
Two minutes later Malone, a sophomore, pushed a pass beyond the Canfield goalie and Anderson delivered for a 3-1 advantage.
"We told them we played really well in the first half, but we had to step it up in the second half," Hassay said of the talk at the break.
Sutman explained that Hassay, who plays center midfield, is the "ultimate teammate" because of the way she delivers the ball.
After a 6-1 start to the season, injuries have helped drop Canfield to 7-7-1 overall and 4-4-1 in the MAC.
"We had three freshmen on the field tonight," said Canfield coach Jon Ulicney.
"We played even the whole game; we just made a couple of defensive mistakes. We have new defensive players and we lost our starters."