Special assignment pays off

HOLLAND — Bowling Green junior midfielder Maddy Adams scored both goals to lead the Bobcats to a 2-1 Northern Lakes League girls soccer victory over Springfield Wednesday.

Adams’ performance lifted the Bobcats to a 2-5 record and the Bobcats’ first conference victory in three games. It was also Adams’ first two goals of the season.

Adams was given a special assignment — to play center forward, and it paid dividends for BG. On one side of her was senior forward Sydney Maas and on the other side, senior midfielder Macy Ash.

“We changed our lineup a bit today. Maddy doesn’t usually play up top, so we put her up top and Syd out wide, so we had a little bit of force and attack out wide,” BG coach Erika Kimple said.

“Our goals today were just to get connections between Sydney, Maddy and Macy, and I thought today that was how those goals scored.”

On Adams’ first goal, the BG front line was playing keep-away in front of the Springfield net, when all of a sudden the ball popped out to Adams in the middle.

All Adams had remaining was basically a penalty kick to get it past Springfield senior goalkeeper Veronica Florek. Adams nailed her shot with 22:55 remaining in the half, assisted by sophomore forward Allison Wiles.

“It was awesome. I got stuck between two girls and I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got to get this shot off.’ So, I just kicked it, and it went in,” Adams said.

Exactly 30 seconds after the second half kickoff, Springfield senior forward Chloe Meyette controlled the ball into the right corner, just outside the box.

She played a cross left toward the front of the net, allowing freshman forward Macy DeRaedt a short cross right to Springfield junior forward Kalaia Taylor.

Taylor headed the ball past BG junior keeper Ella Billiot and into the right corner of the net, tying the game at one goal apiece.

The game remained deadlocked for over 23 minutes, but with 16:17 remaining, Ash struck a quick hitter from inside the box, which Florek saved but could not control.

Adams was there for the deflection, one-timing another quick-hitter past Florek for the winning goal.

“It was a shot off Macy Ash, and I was like, ‘I’m ready. I’m going. She’s shooting that ball,’ and as soon as she shot it, I knew it was going to rebound and I just followed through and get us our second goal,” Adams said.

Kimple credits the entire foursome, Ash, Maas, Wiles, and Adams, for making both scores happen.

“Yes, Maddy had the great first shot, followed with the second one, but those were from our creativity going through which we’ve been dying to see,” Kimple said. “I’m sure glad we had the confidence to do it today.”

Adams relished her opportunity to play up front with Maas, Wiles and Ash. It remains to be seen whether that will continue to be the case. Maas had five shots on goal, Adams had four and Ash had three.

“It was awesome. It was different because usually Syd plays up and I play midfield, so it was cool,” Adams said.

BG controlled possession, outshooting Springfield 25-8, and the Bobcats had a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal. Billiot had two saves and Florek had eight.

For Springfield, which falls to 2-6 and 0-3, getting outshot does not mean everything because the Blue Devils have so much the speed up front with Meyette and Taylor.

Taylor’s score was the only shot on goal in the second half, but she had two shots on goal in the first half. When she had possession, she could beat any player on the pitch, so Kimple set up her defense differently, too.

“The main thing we talked about it is we must win the ball in the air. We have to judge it out of the air because if it gets past us. they have that speed, and they will go,” Kimple said.

“We just can’t get caught getting beat. So that is what we talked about at halftime because that was their most dangerous time,” Kimple continued.

“I was proud of (sophomore defender) Kennedy Bosworth for holding down No. 10 (Taylor) on that left side. In the second half, I switched her over to the left side and they just struggled the rest of the way.”

After getting outshot 15-3 the first half, Springfield did make the contest more contentious in the second half, getting outshot by only 10-5.

“We decided to play,” Springfield coach Steve Mortemore said. “The first half we decided not to play, so when we put it together, then we came out in the first 30 seconds and scored our first goal.”

In the second half, Meyette had three breakaways where she was one-on-one with Billiot, but she sent two shots left of the posts and one sailed over and net.

“If you look, we had opportunities to score in that game. We finish those opportunities it is a different story,” Mortemore said.

“If we just finish. It’s been like that the whole season. We have had opportunities to either win games or tie games, and the ball just was not going between the pipes for us right now. I think come playoff time we’ll be ready for that.”

Which means the Blue Devils might be dangerous in the tournament.

“I’m playing a lot of freshmen, so those freshmen are getting the experience, but they are still young yet. So, we just got to continue to battle with that,” Mortemore said.