Fitch, Mooney girls had chances to win in draw

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The Cardinal Mooney and Austintown Fitch girls soccer teams entered their game on Wednesday as winless teams. That didn’t change after the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

After Wednesday’s game, the Cardinals have a 0-2-3 record and Fitch is 0-1-3.

Ties are nothing new to Fitch head coach Bill Spencer. Last season, the Falcons finished with seven ties.

“Last year was a little bit different because we were a senior-heavy team,” Spencer said. “We graduated eight seniors that were four-year letter winners.

“This year, we played seven freshmen on the varsity team today. We’re a very young team. As a matter of fact, we didn’t have a senior on the field today.

Cardinal Mooney coach Thomas Beck also has a positive outlook on his ties. He said wins will come, but ties in soccer are part of the “process.”

“The fact that we’re tying these teams and limiting their scoring opportunities and creating our chances, to me, that what I believe in,” Beck said.

“Throughout the progress of the season, you stick to your system, and by the end of it, hopefully [the players] are gelling.”

Bre Evans gave the Cardinals at 1-0 lead with 11:58 remaining in the first half after controlling a corner kick from Carolyn Kay. Evans’ shot was partially deflected by Fitch goalie Lucy Vitullo, but the shot slipped into the right side of the net.

Fitch tied the game on a corner kick of its own in the second half.

With 17:59 remaining Mackenzie Hartman scored after a corner kick by Marissa Gartland.

“The second half, I think we stepped it up as far as challenging — that led to some more possessions,” Spencer said. “We were winning more balls, where as in the first half, we sat back and watched them step to every ball.”

Katlyn Klasic had a chance to win the game with 10 seconds left. But the Fitch senior’s shot bounced off the top of the crossbar as time expired.

“[Klasic’s] been in that position a lot,” Spencer said. “She’s our leading scorer on the season and for as many goals as she’s had, she’s hit the post that many times.”

Klasic had a second opportunity to score in the final minutes. She broke away from the Cardinals’ defense, but Mooney goalie Skylar Huda made a sliding save.

Huda made three saves for the Cardinals and Vitullo made two.

“Skylar does a great job in the back,” Beck said. “She’s always on her toes, she’s active, she’s aware and she does a great job keeping us in all the games. As a coach, sometimes you hope the goalie has no saves. But if the ball does get there and she has to be the one to make the save, I’m glad we have someone like her in the goal.”

Evans had two opportunities to score the go-ahead goal in the final 6:30.

Evans had a shot with Vitullo out of position but attempt sailed left after she slipped during the kick. Her second shot also sailed wide left with 2:45 remaining.

Spencer isn’t considering the 2018 season a rebuilding year, but said the team needs to keep the same mentality because they’re competing with a you roster.

“It’s a game of inches,” Spencer said. “Couple of injuries, the ball hit the crossbar at the end ... that’s been us. We’re right there, but we’ll keep playing the same way, staying in every game and hopefully it turns our way.”

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