Clutch win: Shutout keeps Falcons in playoff hunt
The final score of 1-0 does not do justice to the offensive domination the Forest Lake Christian girls soccer team displayed in its win against Woodland Christian Wednesday afternoon.
In fact, the contest looked more like target practice for the Falcons, as they continued to attack the Cardinals’ goal with unrelenting enthusiasm, rifling shot after shot throughout the 80-minute game.
Forest Lake Christian was not just there simply to win the game – they were there to prove beyond any doubt that their team deserved to qualify for a playoff spot.
“I definitely think we were going for the shut out,” Forest Lake Christian senior captain Jillian Witzke said. “We dominated and kept the ball on their side of the field for the whole game.”
The contest was a must-win situation for the Falcons as the playoff race between Vacaville Christian, Victory Christian, Forest Lake Christian and Woodland Christian has come down to this final week of play. Only the top two teams from the Central Valley Christian League move on to postseason play.
Victory Christian is sitting comfortably on top with a 12-1-2 record, but with the Falcons’ win on Wednesday, they are now tied with Vacaville Christian with identical 9-2-4 league records. With the loss, Woodland Christian is now 8-4-4 and out of playoff contention.
Both Vacaville Christian and Forest Lake Christian have one game remaining. The Falcons travel to Victory Christian today and Vacaville plays Country Day (4-6-3) on Friday.
If both teams win, they will have to play a tie-breaker game to see who qualifies for the playoffs next Monday at a neutral site. Last time Forest Lake Christian played at Victory Christian, it lost 2-1.
“It was an emotional day for our team,” Forest Lake Christian coach Alane Burke said. “Our girls want it so badly. They will fight tooth and nail until it’s done.”
Her players demonstrated that fact in the win against Woodland as they played with an obvious sense of urgency – especially the team’s front six who utilize a scheme consisting of a box of four players in the middle plus two on the outside.
Shelby Lowe, Chelsie McGirr, Megan Stallings and Jessica Raskin make up the center of the offense as Witzke and Rachel Kerber police the sidelines, serving ball after ball to their more centrally located teammates.
It was McGirr who nailed home the only goal of the game just four minutes into the contest. After a mad scramble in the box, with the ball squirting loose after two other shot attempts, McGirr was able to get a solid strike onto the ball, sending it on the ground past the keeper.
The game was also Senior Day for the Falcons as they recognized the contributions of their five seniors – Sarah Hodges, Taryn McGirr, Kerber, Stallings and Witzke.
To contact sports writer Stacy Hicklin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
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