By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Sometimes the scoreboard isn’t the best way to measure the better team. Bad bounces, tough breaks or simply off days can turn the outcome and make the box score look more lopsided than the play on the field would suggest.
Tuesday when North Marion’s girls’ soccer team hosted Elkins, it was one of those days. The Huskies fell 3-1 to the Tigers in a game that was closer than the two-goal deficit showed.
The Huskies have been a high-scoring, uptempo team this season, scoring as many as nine goals as recently as Saturday. But they manufactured few good scoring chances and allowed Elkins to capitalize on their mistakes.
Coach Steve Rodriguez said the outcome is reflective of the way the team practiced this week.
“We played like we practiced yesterday,” he said. “You have to practice hard to play hard in the game. Elkins took it to us.”
After a scoreless opening half, Madison Haught put the Huskies on the board first just a couple minutes into the second half. The speedy junior, who has scored several hat tricks this season, booted a high arcing ball into the air. It soared over the keeper and landed in the lower right corner.
“Madison has speed and she uses it to her advantage to get to the ball,” Rodriguez said. “That’s her advantage, and she beats a lot of defenders to the ball that way.”
After the initial score, however, Elkins answered right back just two minutes later. The goal was one of three straight goals the Tigers scored to pull away with the victory.
“They got two easy goals against us. And we fell apart,” Rodriguez said. “That’s my fault. I’ll coach them up and get it straightened out.”
The Huskies will have their next chance to straighten things out Thursday when they square off with Buckhannon.
“We have to get ready, get focused and play hard,” Rodriguez said. “I know what the girls can do. They just have to get focused and they’ll do it. They’ll win.”
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Just like the first game, the Huskies got on the board first in the boys’ game. But just like the first game, Elkins responded by scoring the rest of the goals and North Marion fell, 4-1.
Dylan Leary gave the Huskies the lead just minutes into the game when his shot from 25 yards out sailed into the back of the net.
“We surprised them when we scored the first goal,” North Marion coach Matt Gilpin said. “That allowed us to put some pressure on them.”
Elkins responded, though, with two goals to take a 2-1 lead into the half. Shortly into the second half, the Tigers scored a third goal that broke the Huskies’ spirits.
“They really put the pressure on us for the next 20 minutes,” Gilpin said. “Our guys were on defense most of the second half.”
The game got chippy near the end, with several yellow cards. North Marion fouled Elkins in the box in the 13th and the Tigers capitalized with their fourth goal of the evening.
After that, North Marion did continue to challenge and came up with several strong scoring opportunities. Gilpin said he was pleased with the way the team finished the game strong.
“I’m proud of the guys for fighting back,” he said. “They fought for 13 minutes without giving up another goal.”
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.