Polk County opened its 2019 girls soccer schedule on a positive note Monday, topping East Lincoln 2-1 in a chilly non-conference match in G.M. Tennant Stadium.
Caelan Gaul’s goal with 3:56 remaining lifted the Wolverines to the win in their home and season opener. East Lincoln dropped to 1-1 with the loss
Polk head coach Lennox Charles has been tinkering with the Wolverines’ formations this offseason, and the debut of that work proved effective. East Lincoln netted its lone goal on a penalty kick and the Wolverines largely kept the Mustangs at bay until the latter stages of the match.
“Where we normally play a 4-4-2, we’ve been working on a 4-3-3 to give us some flexibility,” Charles said. “This was the first time that we’ve really had a chance to do it and see how it works.
“We started slowing down close to the end. Hopefully, we will get our match quickness as we go on. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the way we played.”
Polk County took a 1-0 lead with 6:08 left in the first half following a long throw-in that bounced around in front of the East Lincoln goal before making its way to the foot of Belen Akers, who looped a shot from the right side of the box into the net to give Polk a 1-0 advantage.
The Mustangs narrowly missed the equalizer in the final 30 seconds of the half as a shot from the left wing slid just outside the reach of diving Polk goalkeeper Sara Muse – but did not escape the foot of defender Sydney Waldman, who cleared the shot to preserve the halftime tie.
A breakaway by East Lincoln’s Taylor Barrineau in the 54th minute led to a Polk foul in the penalty area, and Barrineau converted the kick to even the match. East’s Deana Poteat then had another breakaway in the 71st minute, but Muse came off her line, rushed toward Poteat and deflected her shot wide of the goal.
Moments later, Polk senior Reese Alley took possession of the ball near midfield, dribbling forward before sending a perfect pass ahead to Gaul, who split two East Lincoln defenders, pushed into the box and chipped a shot into the right side of the net for the deciding goal.
The Wolverines are scheduled to be back in action on Wednesday, hosting Crest at 6 p.m.