This is the third time this young season that the Bradley Central girls have fallen behind only to battle their way back to a draw, and head coach Tiffany Walker is less than thrilled about the trend developing.
“It’s frustrating. We are in a bad tendency right now to only go out and work when we are behind. It’s putting the work in to win and not just come back and avoid the loss that we need to start seeing on the field,” Walker expressed postgame.
Bearette strikers did not want for scoring opportunities. The team’s offensive pressure remained high throughout the match, and shots were constantly being whipped goalward. But, many of the volleys veered well off frame, or right at the waiting keeper.
The first of such attempts came in the second minute of play when Caley Jones put a ball off the woodwork. Haley Yarber attempted the rebound but put her shot right into the keeper’s arms.
Three minutes later, Alexia Hubbard found a charging Monse Rincon who took a touch and put a shot on goal that forced a diving save.
In the 11th minute East Ridge launched into an expeditious counter that had the ball in the back of Bradley’s net and the Lady Pioneers on the scoreboard at 1-nil.
Crossing the ball into the box eight minutes later, the Lady Pioneers put a solid deflection on it and the ball ricocheted into the goal for the 2-nil lead.
A costly offsides call killed Bradley’s next offensive push. Three more looks presented themselves through the next 10 minutes of play, but all three shots were well off frame.
After another close call on the defensive side of the ball it was Bradley’s turn to counter. Yarber dribbled in from 30 yards out to find the net and bring the score to 2-1 in the 35th minute.
Bradley was presented with another four opportunities to score before the end of the first half, but all the attacks failed to find their mark, and the Bearettes were forced to go into the halftime break down 2-1.
The Bearettes came out in the second half with renewed urgency, and after the first six minutes the team had already launched into a pair of quality offensive drives that resulted in three shots on goal, yet none found their intended destination.
Jones changed that in the 57th minute when she took a free kick from 30 yards out that sailed past East Ridge’s keeper and into the back of the net to bring the score level at 2-all.
With the score even again, it was the Lady Pioneers who gained the upper hand in momentum for the next 15 minutes of play, culminating with a goal in the 70th minute to put them back on top 3-2.
Desperation setting in and the clock winding down, Bradley was struggling to find the answer in the final minutes of play.
With four minutes left to play Jones struck again, putting pace on the ball and launching it past everyone into the back of the goal to bring things level once again at 3-all.
In the final minutes, the Bearettes were offered no less than six different attempts to take the lead and the match. But, nothing came to fruition, and the game came to a close on a 3-3 draw. The team now carries an overall record of 1-1-3.
“We had about 20 to 30 shots on frame. We just put them right at the keeper or just hit them as hard as we could with no aim or forethought. We had a lot of chances tonight. We just have to learn how to take care of them,” Walker said.
Up next for Bradley is the big crosstown rivalry match against the Cleveland Lady Raiders, who fell 3-nil to Notre Dame Tuesday night. The match will take place at the Greater Cleveland Soccer Comples at 7 p.m. Thursday.