Polk County Middle’s girls soccer coaching staff made a positive, but passionate, plea to the Wolverines at halftime Thursday.
Yes, Flat Rock held a 2-0 lead at the break. No worries, the coaches said – go out, battle, keep pressing and show all those gathered at Utz Field just how good this team can be.
Players evidently listened and believed – Polk Middle rallied with a pair of goals en route to forcing a 2-2 with the Eagles in a Blue Ridge Conference match.
Polk Middle is now 3-3-1, including a 3-0-1 mark in its last four matches. The second-half comeback allowed the Wolverines to keep the momentum going heading into spring break.
“If I could name every one of my players, I would and brag about the hard work, dedication to the game tonight,” said Polk Middle head coach Jessica Marrow.
“Those girls kept their heads held high, a smile on their faces and came back in the second half and played like I know they could. I kept telling them believe in yourself like I believe in you, and they pulled that out in the second half of the game.”
Flat Rock played well throughout the game, especially in the first half when the Eagles grabbed their 2-0 lead. The second goal came just before the half when a Flat Rock player saved a ball near the end line and chipped it back in front of the goal, where a teammate chipped it in.
Polk Middle finally got its first goal with 17:51 remaining. Reeve Carroll struck a shot from well outside the penalty area that bounced before the Flat Rock goalkeeper deflected the shot away. That deflection, though, bounced off the post and back in front of the open goal, where Kenley Savaia raced in and tapped the ball in the net.
The Wolverines continued to press. Carroll, racing toward a pass with three minutes remaining, drew a foul some 10 yards outside the top of the penalty area. Carroll took the penalty and hammered a line drive that sailed just under the top bar, evening the score.
The teams finished regulation and two five-minute overtime periods, but neither defense yielded any scoring opportunities.
“Kenley Savaia with her first goal of the season made that run and had a beautiful goal,” Marrow said. “I told her at the beginning of the game I knew she was going to make a goal, I emphasized how important that her hard work at practice reflects on today’s game.
“It’s been a tough week, three games back-to-back, and those girls stuck through it.”