Down in the mud with the Lady ‘Jackets’
GLEN SPEY, NY – There was an extra competitor out there on the soccer field.
On Tuesday, October 16, the home team Lady Yellowjackets of Eldred hosted the Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs in a non-league girl’s varsity soccer match.
But wait a second, that’s only a couple of teams.
While both squads battled it out in a traditional one team against another game, there was in fact a third opponent out there, one that Mother Nature cast into the mix in the form of mud, mud and more mud.
At least the ankle deep mud played no favorites, and while it treated everyone fairly, it caused a lot of what would have most likely been successful shots on goal to literally get stuck in the mud, much to the delight of the fans along the sidelines.
Not so much the coaches or the booters who thought they had a clear shot into the net. But the mud got in the way, again, again and yet again.
In the final analysis, Eldred won 1-0 on a second half goal by Lenae Kelty at 7:08.
While the game was originally scheduled to be played at the high school, it was relocated to the elementary school as that field was in marginally better condition, and the district wanted to perverse what was left of the primary field for he girl’s senior recognition night the following evening.
Eldred (8-3) stats): shots (20), shots on goal (12), corner kicks (7). Kailee Mohan anchored the net as goalie.
Sullivan West (6-6-1) stats: shots (32), shots on goal (22), corner kicks (5). Guarding the net was keeper Isabel Nearing.
The overall fervency of the match between rivals was noteworthy particularly in the final frame, as the Lady Bulldogs were in full-on attack mode, while Eldred’s hard-pressed goalie deflected shot-upon-shot, getting covered in mud from head-to-toe.
Afterwards, Mohan was asked her take on the match.
“I think it was one of our most intense games….a lot of credit to my defense, because they played their hardest…”, replied the junior keeper.
What are her immediate goals as the season winds down toward the playoffs and beyond?
“To get better, go all the way, help my team out, and make the seniors have a great year,” she replied.
Lady Yellowjackets coach Sonia Kidney summed up the one-goal win.
“It was a very good game between Sullivan West and ourselves…a good competitive game, we expected it.”
Kidney added that from a coach’s perspective, perhaps her players thought it was going to be an easy match, and early in the first frame she took her midfield and forwards out to the fence for a little talking to about the perils of underestimating the competition.
“I told them to get a grasp on what was going on and we were lacking in some communication….be ourselves out there and do our best.”
Lenae Kelty scored the victory goal for Eldred, and last year was part of the squad that made it to the final four.
“Right now I think we’re going to go all the way…take us back to the final four, and see what happens.”
Hailee Kolvenback was also on last season’s final four team.
“This game was a wakeup…the second half is when we get mad, and then we tend to play harder…we have to work on our communication, and try our best,” said the senior center midfielder.
Jessica Labuda, a junior, plays forward and striker for Eldred. Her take of the soccer year as it enters its final phase.
“Definitely a learning and building season…I think we’re all working together, and with the younger girls moving up….we set a bar for ourselves (from their last game against the Lady Spartans of S.S. Seward), and now we’re meeting up to that bar…”
Sullivan West coach Mike “Elmo” Ellmauer, apparently recovered from a recent battle with a snake on his home turf, said of the muddy battle at Eldred, “The mud helped them…it stopped a couple of shots that should have gone in…it’s one of those things, and nobody got seriously hurt."
“I’d call it a moral victory,” added Ellmauer.
Kayla Schock takes to the field on defense for the Lady Bulldogs.
“I think we definitely gave them a run for their money…the conditions were a little difficult…we could have scored”.
The Lady Yellowjackets picked up the Section IX Class D Championship title by default this year, as there were no other schools in their division.