Gaby Pilgrim

Rams soccer comes from behind to win in conference tourney opener

May 27, 2010 // 0 Comments

by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER Missed opportunities have plagued the Rockford girls soccer team all season long. Many times they have outplayed their opponents, only to lose in the last few minutes of the contest. When they found themselves trailing host Grandville 2-0 in the OK Red conference tournament opener Thursday night, May 20, at Grand View Elementary School, they had a decision to make: Let the Bulldogs have the victory, or find it within themselves to pull together and win. They chose the latter, erasing the 2-0 halftime deficit to win 3-2. “The biggest thing is what we proved to ourselves,” said Coach Amira Ponne. “We can come from two goals down and score three goals to win. The girls trusted us in the decisions we made. They believed it and it worked.” In an effort to jumpstart the comeback, the coaches switched the Rams’ formation at halftime. While a flat-back four defense has worked for the Rams most of the time this season, Ponne changed it to a diamond four with a sweeper and a stopper, moving freshman defender Erika Bradfield up into the middle offense, bringing senior midfielder Al Huyser back to the stopper position, and putting senior Sam Decker at sweeper. The switch proved valuable. “We’ve always wanted to do it but felt she [Bradfield] was solid back there on defense,” said Ponne. “She plays nice through balls and is very aggressive. She makes a lot of stuff happen. Al was winning the 50/50 balls back there. We needed something different back there, and she is so patient. We knew she would step up.” Although Ponne was hesitant to switch the defense because the girls hadn’t practiced it, something goalkeeper coach Scott Hazel said spurred her into action. “Scott said ‘2-0 or 30-0, it makes no difference’,” said Ponne. In the first half, the Rams seemed to always be a step behind and just off the mark on their shots. Although Rockford had many opportunities, the speedy, aggressive Bulldogs were constantly intercepting passes and moving to the ball faster, and their defense was shutting down any forward movement. “We knew coming in that Grandville’s strength was their speed and that they worked well together as a team,” said Ponne. “They are fast everywhere […]