Howland slips past Canfield, 2-1
The Tigers won it on Erin Gilmour's penalty kick with 2:43 remaining.
BY ERIC HAMILTON
CANFIELD -- It's been a tough seven days for the Howland High girls soccer team. With four games in a week and a few bumps and bruises, the Tigers were little off their game when they traveled to Canfield to take on the undefeated Cardinals Monday.
But just like they have so far this season, the Tigers found just enough energy to get the job done.
Rallying from a 1-0 halftime deficit, Howland managed two goals in the second half, including the game-winner on a penalty kick from senior captain Erin Gilmour with 2:43 remaining, to escape with a 2-1 victory.
The win was Howland's (6-0-1, 2-0 Metro Athletic Conference) fourth in the last week.
"We've really had a tough stretch with a lot of games and we're a little banged up right now," said Howland coach Pat Hovance. "We kind of got away from our possession game and let Canfield dictate things, but we played hard and were able to grab a win on the road. That's key in a league like the MAC.
"Canfield (6-1, 1-1) really kept us on our toes the whole game and we just couldn't finish on some of our shots. But a win is a win, even if we didn't play our regular style."
Shots, but no scores
Howland outshot the Cardinals 9-2 in the first half, but had nothing to show for it at halftime. Canfield keeper Ashley Hunter kept the Tigers off the board despite facing pressure for much of the opening 40 minutes.
Canfield had trouble mounting much of an offensive attack, but took advantage of one of its two scoring opportunities in the first half.
Audra Frimpong gathered a pass from senior Liz Vernal, beat her defender down the right sideline, and pounded a shot past Howland goalie Melissa Airhart. The shot gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead at the 33:38 mark of the half.
That lead looked like it might hold up, as Howland's frustration continued. The Tigers got off only three shots in the second half. But as it turned out, that's all they needed.
Kohn tied up game
The visitors finally broke through with 18:32 remaining when Melissa Kohn hooked a shot into the left corner of the goal to tie the game at 1-1.
Fueled by the change in momentum, the Tigers continued their aggressive play. The effort paid off in a big way with just 2:43 remaining in the contest.
The Tigers were driving toward the Cardinals' goal when the referee called a Canfield defender for an illegal slide tackle from behind. That set up a penalty kick for Howland.
Gilmour, who has taken all three penalty kicks for the Tigers this season, buried the shot in the right side of the net to give her team a 2-1 lead. It was her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
"She's our captain and a senior, so there was no question who would take the shot," said Hovance. "I was a little worried because he had been holding her hip, but she buried it and it was a no-doubter."
Can't dwell on loss
Canfield coach Tim Wensel was happy with his team's effort and won't let his players dwell too long on its first loss of the season.
"I told them our season is not one game long," he said. "We played a good Howland team tough tonight. We played much of the game right in front of our own goal and eventually they're going to score. We knew they'd come after us in the second half and they did."