St. Al rallies for soccer tie

Published 12:01 pm Thursday, January 20, 2011

RICHLAND — If there is such a thing as a “good” tie, St. Aloysius earned it on Wednesday.

The Lady Flashes shook off a sluggish first half and rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit, tying the game on Catherine Smith’s score with four minutes left to pick up a 2-2 draw with Richland.

St. Al outshot Richland 5-0 in the second half and picked up another goal from Sara Townsend early on.

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“The second half was better than the first. We played harder. We passed a lot and talked more,” Townsend said.

The strong second half gave the Lady Flashes (7-10-1) some momentum heading into tonight’s do-or-die division game against Greenville-St. Joe. The winner will advance to the playoffs, while the loser will have its season end.

“It’s do or die time right there,” St. Al coach Suzie Channell said.

Richland (9-4-1) controlled the first 45

minutes of the game. Seventh-graders Aubrey Patterson and Julia Bain each scored a goal in the first half to give the Lady Rangers a 2-0 lead at halftime. Patterson’s goal came on a breakaway 90 seconds in.

St. Al weathered the storm, though, and cut the deficit in half on Townsend’s goal in the eighth minute of the second half. An errant clearing pass by Richland found its way onto her foot, and she lifted it over the keeper to make it 2-1.

“The other team probably kicked it and it bounced. I hit it and it went over the goalie,” Townsend said. “It was my first goal of the season, so I’m happy.”

The Lady Flashes gradually took control of the game and tied it on Smith’s goal, which was eerily similar to Townsend’s. Smith — who had flubbed a breakaway chance early in the second half — collected a pass from Laura Phillips during a scrum in front of the goal and tapped it past the keeper for the tying score.

“I just told them to come out and have fun,” Channell said of the second-half turnaround. “They just did it. I didn’t raise my voice or yell at them. They just played better.”