Neither, in the end, made the pivotal breakthrough.
The two traded blows but ultimately shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night in a non-district girls soccer match between a pair of District 1-AAA schools. Both coaches felt it was a result with which they could live.
“I thought it was a good, competitive game,” Central coach Cliff Ferguson said. “Both teams played well. I don’t like to lose, but I’ll take a tie any day.”
Boone coach Steve Sessis was a little more to the point: “I think we were lucky to come away with a tie.”
Perhaps. The Lady Trailblazers were not without their opportunities, though.
An early second-half goal from Jennine Duncan drew the Lady Trailblazers (2-1-2) level. Duncan fashioned a pair of openings over the final 10 minutes as well, both producing the best out of Central goalkeeper Mary Williams.
A firm right hand from Williams denied a rasping Duncan drive from the left side of the penalty area after 70 minutes. Three minutes later, Duncan again broke free of the Lady Cougars’ back line only for Williams to sprint from her goal line and stop the shot at its source.
All this after Williams had failed to claim what appeared to be a simple crossing pass into the box earlier in the half, a miscue that led to Boone’s equalizer. Talk about bouncing back.
“The second goal was an error on her part, but she didn’t cave,” Ferguson said. “Duncan near the end had a very aggressive shot and Mary laid out to swat the ball away. I thought when Jennine shot it, it was a sure goal. Mary had a couple of phenomenal saves. She played very well in the second half.”
The fact that Duncan was creating chances was indicative of the improvement made by Boone after the interval. The visitors were largely second best during a first half in which Central (1-1-2) opened the scoring inside 30 seconds.
Handed a lifeline in the form of a penalty midway through the first 45 minutes — converted by defender Carrie Holland — the Lady Trailblazers conceded again two minutes before halftime. It may well have been worse considering the chances that fell to the hosts.
“We just weren’t moving the ball well at all,” Sessis said. “I’m not sure why. I think we’re still trying to figure out what we want to accomplish.
“We started to play better in midfield during the second half,” he added. “I was pleased with some of our younger girls. They brought some fire to the team.”
Ansley Ferguson scored both goals for the Lady Cougars. Ferguson, an offensive fulcrum for Central, re-aggravated a hamstring injury during the first half and, though she played on, was noticeably limited in her movement.
That coupled with a lack of depth saw the Lady Cougars fade as the second half progressed. They still managed to threaten, however, in particular Tiffany Norris, who popped up with a couple of long-distance efforts that tested Boone keeper Andrea Rogers.
“We had opportunity after opportunity to put the ball in the back of net. We just couldn’t finish,” Ferguson said.
“We’re going to work on that.”