By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (September 20, 2016) – Rock Ridge High School junior Olivia Ouimet gave the Lady Phoenix the cushion they were looking for when she scored off a penalty corner late in the second half to go up 2-0, the eventual final score of their win against Riverside High School in Leesburg on September 20.
“Her goal lifted a lot of weight off of our shoulders,” Rock Ridge head coach Rachel Sauer said. “We kept fighting after that goal, but it helped us seal the deal.”
Ouimet’s goal cooled the rejuvenated Lady Rams’ attack. After three penalty corners in the game’s first seven minutes, Riverside lost control of the game as Rock Ridge maintained possession for most of the first half.
The Lady Phoenix took advantage of the ball control and scored on a penalty corner just over ten minutes into the game when sophomore Abbey Priftis passed the corner to sophomore Grace Crangle who gave Rock Ridge the 1-0 lead.
“In some of these games, we’ve come out a little flat, so I think that early goal got our girls really excited,” Sauer said. “They were able to carry that momentum throughout the game.”
But the Lady Rams did change up the pace and controlled the momentum for much of the second half. Five different times in the second half, Riverside had legitimate chances on goal – adding to a season-high 18 shots on goal – but the young Lady Rams could not connect.
“We played with a little more intensity. The girls just really wanted to score,” Riverside head coach Amy Oldknow said. “We’ve had a problem finishing and getting the ball in the circle. We’re happy we finally got the ball in the circle, but now we need to finish. We’re just trying every game to work on something new and improve.”
Even following Ouimet’s goal with five minutes left, Riverside found scoring chances with both three and four minutes to play and the fans from both sides saw the Lady Rams’ fight.
“It’s been such a great experience. We’re small, we’re young and we don’t have a winning record, but the girls are having fun,” Oldknow said. “It’s so great having a new field sport in the fall. I think the fans are getting into it even though [many]don’t know anything about it. It’s nice to see the growth and support though.”
Riverside (2-3, 2-6) is back in action on September 20 when they host Woodgrove High School (4-1, 7-1) in Leesburg, while Rock Ridge (2-3, 3-5) gets a night off before hosting Loudoun Valley High School (1-3, 2-5) in Ashburn on September 21.
“We’ve had tremendous support from everyone, so it’s been really great,” Sauer said. “We have a really young team, but they want it, they want to be out here, and they’re working hard every day.”
1H 19:40 RR Grace Crangle
2H 5:20 RR Olivia Ouimet