Wolverines deliver late flurry to upend Chase for first win of season

Practice proved prescient Thursday for Polk County.

Wolverine defender Ella Waldman and midfielder Susanna Ashworth arrived at G.M. Tennant Stadium early for Polk’s conference match with Chase, taking extra time for Waldman to work on timing corner kicks from Ashworth.

The hard work delivered as that duo combined on a corner kick with 2:25 remaining, Waldman heading Ashworth’s corner into the net to give Polk County a 4-3 Mountain Foothills 7 Conference victory in G.M. Tennant Stadium.

Waldman’s header capped a wild second half during which the two teams combined for six goals. The match also featured a lengthy stoppage in the second half for an injury to a Chase player, that injury eventually resulting in the arrival of an ambulance to transport the player. No word was available Friday morning as to the condition of the player.

That break came with 5:55 remaining in the match and the score tied 3-3. Waldman’s goal came minutes after play resumed, with Ashworth sending her corner to the back post, where Waldman raced in and delivered a perfect header into the back of the net.

“Ella and Susanna came out around 4:30 and worked on some of those,” said Polk County head coach Lennox Charles. “It’s amazing what happens when you actually work on something.

“We needed this one. You know when you’re struggling that things aren’t often going your way. We should have had two or three goals in the first half and then it’s probably over. But when you’re struggling, sometimes you don’t get those.”

Polk County (1-3, 1-1) entered scoreless in its first three matches. Anna Jackson changed that late in the first half, converting a penalty kick after Chase (0-3-1, 0-1) was whistled for a handball in the penalty area to give the Wolverines their first goal and first lead of the season.

But the Trojans turned the match around in the second half with a three-goal flurry in slightly more than nine minutes of match time. Isabel Elmore scored on a corner in the 47th minute before Jesse McDanial won a race with Polk goalkeeper Maggie McCammon to a loose ball and used her left foot to lift it over McCammon, the kick bouncing twice before settling in the net for a 2-1 Chase lead.

Three minutes later, McDanial scored again as McCammon slipped on a soft spot in the penalty area, leaving the goal open for a shot that made it 3-1 with 24:07 left in the match.

Polk County, though, wasn’t deterred.

The Wolverines cut the Trojan lead to one in the 62 minute, with Caroline Taylor dribbling into the penalty area and hitting a low line drive just inside the near post. In the 71st minute, Ashworth and Lauren Dotson led a flurry around the net that eventually resulted in Ashworth lifting a shot toward the back post that Hayden Blackwell was able to direct into goal, tying the match at 3-3.

Waldman would add the game-winning in the 77th minute.

“For them to not score all season, then to score the first one and be in the lead and be excited, then to give up three goals, two of them in a very weird fashion, and be down 3-1,” Charles said. “For them to then come back and score three goals, that’s definitely a good way to get the first win. Hopefully, we can build on that.”

Polk County will have the opportunity to do that on Friday as the Wolverines host Shelby in a non-conference match at 6 p.m.

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