TAMPA – As dominant as Berkeley Prep was on Tuesday night against a shorthanded Tampa Prep squad, it took a moment of good fortune to give the Buccaneers a 1-0 victory.
With the Buccaneers sustaining pressure in the Terrapins’ end, the ball came to Rebecca Hurst in the 28th minute just outside the penalty area, Hurst opened up onto her right foot, and fired a shot that took a deflection of a challenging Terrapin defender, redirecting the shot just underneath the crossbar on the right side of the goal leaving Terrapins goalkeeper Jordan Hatton unable to recover.
“It pays to be lucky every once in a while, doesn’t it?” Berkeley coach Ken Roberts said. “I thought we had a couple of other nice opportunities, but we weren’t finishing, and weren’t getting the shots that we wanted to.”
That was in part thanks to a strong defensive effort by Tampa Prep’s defense, which, led by Amber Miller, made it difficult for the Buccaneers to create clear scoring opportunities. Terrapins coach Cindy Schofield said that under the circumstances, she was very happy with her side’s performance.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” Schofield said. “We fought for one another, missing some key players, we only had 12 players after (Lauren) Knocke went down, and I was so proud of our players. I walk away with it as a victory for us.”
The Terrapins (6-2-1) were already without standout forward Colby Maffei, who is currently attending the Olympic Development Program Thanksgiving Interregional in Boca Raton, and lost Knocke when she went down in the first half. But the Terrapins were, for the most-part, able to play a compact shape that restricted the Buccaneers in the final third of the field.
Also hindering the Bucs’ progress were the conditions, with the heavy rains that came down earlier in the afternoon causing a heavy pitch that had some standing water, causing a drag on the ball as the Buccaneers (4-3-1) tried to pass and move quickly. Roberts was pleased with some of the moves the Bucs made, though including a chance created by the recently returned Taylor Batye, whose cross from the left was headed just wide by Samantha Newhaller.
“(Assistant coach) Jen (Martin) has been preaching to be patient, that we don’t need to go forward every time,” Roberts said. “We’ve been playing so many matches against teams that play high-pressure that started getting a bit of a go-go-go attitude instead of putting our foot on the ball, knock it back, knock it around.”
Now all that remains is for Berkeley to find a little better scoring touch in front of net.
“I thought we controlled the flow of the game, but we’re not finding that final pass in the box right now,” Roberts said. “We’re just missing that last pass right now, but it’ll be there. We’re playing some good matches and playing some tough competition. We’ve started to figure out a defensive scheme, we’re not flat at the back anymore, and I think ND (Ubezonu) is doing a nice job patrolling the back end, and we’re using the outside back to protect the wings better, so it’s nice.”