Portage Central regional opener

Rockford girls soccer ousted by Portage Central in regional opener

June 11, 2009 // 0 Comments

Captain Kayla Knoll (#18) outplays her Mustang opponent. Photo by BRET DOUD by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER In the Bible, the little shepherd boy David slays the mighty Goliath with nothing but a slingshot and a heap of faith. The Rockford girls soccer team had the faith, but their skills were no match for Portage Central, the top-ranked team in Division I. The Mustangs ended the Rams’ tournament run June 2 with a decisive 4-1 victory in the regional opener at East Kentwood. “They are the best high school team I have ever seen,” said Rockford Coach Amria Ponne. “They could beat many small college teams. I can take a loss to a team that is that great.” The Rams were well-prepared for the Mustangs and knew their weaknesses. While watching game film from Portage Central’s district win, a handful of the Rams evaluated what they needed to do to win. What they didn’t know was that the Mustang’s speed, coupled with their sharp passes and great ball-handling, would be too much to overcome. The Mustangs struck early on their way to victory. Sophomore Charlie Socia scored the first of her four goals just six-and-a-half minutes into the game. Rockford’s Samantha Decker headed the cross from Portage Central’s Mara Bennett away from the goal, but Socia got the rebound, snuck in behind the defense, took advantage of the chaos in front of the net, and shot it in from close proximity. Rockford goalie Kristin Darby never had a chance. That became the story throughout the game: textbook perfect crosses or short passes in front of the net with Socia always taking advantage of frenzied activity in the box to finish. Four different Mustangs assisted on her goals. “They are very fast and great ball handlers,” said Ponne. “They play beautifully together. They always know where each other is, especially 23 [Socia] and 25 [Paige Wester]. “They are pretty tough to stop, and I would say impossible to shut out. No matter how great our defense is, No. 23 or 25 is going to score. When they have a chance to score and you think ‘this should go in,’ it’s in.” The Rams scored their lone goal 1:28 into the second half. Decker received the pass from Lyndsey […]