Late goal gives Great Valley 1-0 win over Oxford
● By Steven Hoffman
After Oxford and Great Valley battled so hard and for so long, the game-winning goal came so suddenly that it was almost stunning.
Great Valley's Courtney Stevens earned her team a victory by scoring a long goal that eluded Oxford goalkeeper Tara Bender in the closing minute of the Sept. 21 game, taking advantage of one of the few scoring opportunities for either team.
While the end result was frustrating, Oxford coach Kevin Lentz said that he was generally pleased with the way that his team implemented the game plan against Great Valley.
“Today's effort was pretty decent,” Lentz said. “Great Valley is a good team that works hard, too.”
The hard work from both teams was on full display as they moved up and down the field throughout the game.
Bender, who turned away eight shots during the contest, responded to the early challenge as Great Valley got two early shots on goal against Oxford.
The Hornets started slow offensively, but within the first ten minutes of the game they were able to apply more pressure to Great Valley's defense. Mackenzie Erhart, a striker, keyed one push up the field that forced Great Valley goalkeeper Laura Campbell to make a diving stop.
A few minutes later, Bender turned in a diving stop of her own to keep the game scoreless.
As the game progressed, scoring opportunities were rare for both teams as the defensive players hustled to protect their own goals. The game was fast-paced and evenly matched throughout.
Bender was equal to the task at hand whenever Great Valley did manage a shot on goal. Campbell turned away three shots on goal by Oxford during the game as the defense did a good job in front.
The goal by Stevens near the end of the game seemed to catch Great Valley by surprise as much as it did Oxford.
Lentz said that his team has relied on good play from Cora Baughman, Erin Oechsle and Heather Burnett, all seniors, to lead Oxford. The game against Great Valley is evidence that the squad can play good soccer.
“We're not quite where we want to be yet,” the Oxford coach explained. “We need to make sure that we're focused so that we can achieve our goals for the season.”
In upcoming games, Oxford will host West Chester East on Oct. 1, Downingtown East on Oct. 5, and Coatesville on Oct. 7.