(Oct. 1, 2021) The Stephen Decatur girls’ soccer team got big wins over Bayside Conference opponents, Snow Hill and Parkside.
Sophomore Morgan Sullivan and junior captain Mia Kemp scored in the first 15 minutes of the game last Friday in Snow Hill.
The Eagles tied it up 2-2, but Sullivan and Kemp netted goals again late in the half to give the visiting Seahawks a 4-2 lead at halftime.
Decatur was awarded two penalty shots within the first seven minutes of the second half, when Sullivan was tripped in the box. Kemp capitalized on the first free kick, and junior captain Hannah Dang scored on the second to boost the Seahawks’ advantage to 6-2.
Junior goalie Jessica Beck made some big saves, especially late in the game.
She saved a penalty shot, before the Eagles scored on another to make it 6-3.
With about four minutes left, on a corner kick, she made a diving save on the goal line to stop the ball from going into the net.
Beck finished the game with eight saves.
“It was a pretty awesome game. It was clearly our best game of the year. Everybody contributed. For the first time, our offense looked explosive,” said Decatur Coach Rich Venere. “We wanted to free up Morgan and Mia because they have speed and they can convert breakaways into goals. We pushed balls behind their last defender and used their speed.”
Venere was proud that the Seahawks put together a complete game.
“Snow Hill was 5-0 going int the game. It was a big-time win for us,” he added. “This is the most confident our team has been all season.”
Decatur hosted the Parkside Rams on Tuesday.
The visiting Rams went up 2-0, but the Seahawks fought back.
After a foul, Decatur was awarded a free kick about 25 yards out 21 minutes before the half. The Seahawks perfectly executed a set play and Dang put the ball in the back of the net.
“We really needed momentum at that point down 2-0. We worked on [the set play] at practice prior to the game,” Venere said. “We tried it in the Snow Hill game and it didn’t work. It was nice to see them execute it. Mia passed to Kayla [Rocco] who put it in place for Hannah and it was a great shot. Converting that free kick gave them a ton of momentum.”
Sophomore Riley Wilson made it 2-2, netting a free kick to the far post from about 25 yards out 10 minutes before halftime.
“It was a perfect shot, over the goalie and into the far side,” Venere said.
With 15:12 left in the game, Sullivan played a through ball to Kemp, who was successful in her one-on-one battle.
“I was confident she was going to convert it,” Venere said. “I told Mia after the game she’s the best I’ve seen at converting one-on-one breakaways.”
With a 3-2 lead, Venere said the Seahawks packed it in the defensive end and continued to clear the ball out to protect the goal and their advantage.
Beck recorded 10 saves in the victory.
“The girls were super excited,” Venere said, especially when they found out the team hadn’t beat Parkside since Sept. 25, 2015, he added.
Decatur’s Breast Cancer Awareness Game on Tuesday will be against the Mardela Warriors at 5:30 p.m. in Berlin. The girls will wear pink socks during the game and there will be a bake sale fundraiser to support the cause.