High School Sports

Strong second half propels Stratford past Mount de Sales

After a tough 2-1 loss against FPD on Tuesday, Stratford first-year head coach Kate Blankenship admitted to a rather restless night of sleep.

But the Eagles bounced back against Mount de Sales, a team that came into the game undefeated in area standings, on Thursday night with an impressive 3-0 win.

Bella Gill had two goals to lead the way as Stratford improved to 3-1 in GHSA Area 2.

“We came out a little flat in this game, and probably some of that was coming off such a tough loss to FPD,“ said Blankenship, whose team was in a scoreless game in the first half. “We made some changes in the second half and tried to push the ball forward a little bit more and that allowed us to find our rhythm.

“We tend to play better when we can control the ball a little bit more than we did in the first half. My girls showed that they are a very resilient soccer team. This was a great way to head into our break.”

In the first half, Stratford had a few chances to score, but could not put the ball into the net, as Cavaliers keeper Alina Rodriguez turned away all seven shots that the Eagles took. Mount de Sales, however, managed only one shot in the first half, and only two in the second half, unable to mount legitimate chances to score.

Gill finally scored the first goal of the match in the 62nd minute when she took a pass from Mary Kathryn Hightower and scored. Nine minutes later, Lizzie Clayton scored for Stratford to make it 2-0, and Gill put the game away with another goal in the 78th minute.

“We were very sluggish in the first half, and I think we were just exhausted from the FPD game because we put so much effort into it,” said Gill, who now has 10 goals this season. “But in the second half, we were just able to come together as a team and play much better soccer.

“We knew it was good to score first, but once you get the first one, you have to just work so much harder to get another. Mount de Sales is a very good team, and we knew we had to keep playing hard.”

Mount de Sales head coach Iain Jones, whose team drops to 4-1 in area play, was not thrilled with the results of the game, and his team didn’t have an great night.

“We have been playing much better soccer than how we played in this game, but you have to give credit to Stratford.” Jones said. “We made three critical mistakes in the second half that helped them score three goals. We will learn from the mistakes and continue to get better as the season goes by.”