Set-piece goals keep Canfield girls soccer unbeaten
By Brian Dzenis
Canfield’s girls soccer team found itself in unfamiliar territory: playing from behind. The Cardinals preserved their undefeated record by rallying from a two-goal deficit to draw even with Austintown Fitch, 2-2, on Monday night.
Canfield is the Mahoning Valley’s lone girls team to be ranked in the Associated Press state poll, sitting at No. 6. Prior to Monday’s game, the closest the Cardinals (5-0-2) came to defeat was a 2-2 draw with Howland, but that game involved the Tigers coming back.
“We haven’t been down much. We told the girls before the game that they have a target on their back,” Canfield coach Phil Simone said. “All the local teams and conference teams are going to be coming after them. Fitch was hyped up and they brought it.”
Two excellent set pieces in the second half from senior Macey Malinky brought the Cardinals even. With 37 minutes left in regulation, she hit a corner kick that managed to go through numerous Fitch and Canfield bodies untouched on its way to the back of the net.
“I was just putting it in to see where I could get it and I was just so lucky on the shot,” Malinky said.
With about 10 minutes to play, Malinky hit another quality corner kick. It hit a body this time, but it was supposed to. The ball was met with Chloe Kalia’s header to eliminate the Falcon’s upset bid.
“That’s sort of been our Achilles’ heel this season, defending set pieces. We’ve had a lot of games slip away — particularly in the second half,” Fitch coach Bill Spencer said.
“It happened to us in a [2-2 draw vs. Howland]. We gave up two set pieces late to give us a tie in a game we were winning.”
Fitch (3-2-1) did well to build a two-goal lead on Canfield in the first half. The Falcons were playing effective counter-attacking soccer.
On the home side’s first goal, Brittany McFall managed to get behind two Canfield defenders and then boot the ball into the penalty area where Jordan Evans just had to tap it home. Lauren Dolak — the Falcons’ leading scorer — had a breakaway goal of her own, but Fitch lost her two minutes later.
Dolak was going for her second breakaway goal when Canfield goalie Lauren Slanker came out to stop her. They had an ugly collision and Dolak had to be carried off the field.
While Slanker finished the half, she did not come out for the second.
Falcons midfielder Karlee Kluchar and defender Sarah Egulf also exited the game after injuries.
“That was the first time [Egulf] has been off the field this season. You lose a central defender and that’s tough,” Spencer said.
“We had some freshman girls that saw their first varsity action. We did what we had to do.”