The Lady Jags of Northwest have had the Oct. 21 game against Whitman highlighted since the schedule came out in August. The game would be the last home game of the season, and senior night, plus it was Whitman who knocked the Jags out of the playoffs last season. The Vikings have beaten the Jags in four straight matches, the Lady Jags hoped this year would be different. The Jags wanted to prove to the County that they could beat a perennial power.
Northwest came into Wednesday night’s match riding a five game winning streak, including a win over 4A North leading Sherwood and 4A West rival Wootton. The Lady Vikings were coming off of their first loss of the season, a 5-0 blowout to Churchill. It was Whitman’s first loss in 35 games, dating back to Oct. 10, 2013. The Vikings came to Northwest to set things straight.
Whitman began early with a goal in the fourth minute of the game. Sophomore forward Caroline Smith sent a ball across the goal mouth in front of the Northwest goalkeeper which found the head of senior Kristen Bissell for the first goal of the game.
Whitman would keep the pressure on and it would be Bissell who forced a Jaguar mistake one minute later. She was fouled just outside the penalty box and she would fire a direct kick into the back of the Northwest goal to put the Vikings up 2-0 just five-minutes into the game.
The Lady Jags would regroup and find a way to stay in the game and at the 30:01 mark of the game, senior forward Kelly Miller would feed a pass to sophomore Leanna Choo. Choo would slice her way through Whitman defenders to put the ball past freshman Vikings goalkeeper Katie Stender-Moore, who had over-committed on the challenge. The Jags had cut the lead to one goal.
Despite a blistering amount of pressure and sustained attack for much of the rest of the first half, the lone goal would remain the only time the Jags would find the back of the net the entire game. Late the first, the Jags had some glorious opportunities but all shots would either be stopped by the keeper or roll harmlessly wide of the net.
In the second half, Whitman would score again in the 45th minute. This time Bissell would set up junior midfielder Emily Thompkins, who would head the ball over the diving arms of the Northwest goalie.
Up 3-1, Whitman adjusted their formation and moved another player to the midfield to better control Northwest’s attack. While the Lady Jags worked hard to get chances in the second-half, getting the ball through Whitman’s 3-5-2 formation proved difficult and move effectively shut-down the Northwest offensive power.
With the win, Whitman improves to 11-1 and will face 1-9 Northwood tonight (Thursday) to end their regular season. Northwest falls to 7-2-1 and will travel to play 2-8-3 Blake on Monday, Oct. 26. The Lady Jags are 5-1-1 in the 4A/3A West and in second behind unbeaten Damascus and are primed to make another run into the playoffs.
Top: Northwest junior forward Daniela Galvez (10) gets tangled with Whitman goalie Katie Stender-Moore (15) and Caroline Smith (9) as she tries for a shot on goal.
Next: Sophomore Leanna Choo (3) slashes through defenders and gets off the Lady Jags only goal of the game.
Next: Late in the first-half Leana Choo (3) would continue to put pressure on Whitman and take another shot which would get past the Whitman defenders and goalie but roll just wide of the goal.
Next: Northwest senior Kelly Miller (6) fights for the ball with Whitman’s Caroline Smith (9).
Next: Northwest’s senior Mirielle Gerdes (4) races down the line.
Next: The Lady Jags senior Hanna Crook (23) controls the ball in the midfield during Wednesday’s game against Whitman.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.