La PORTE — Last year, La Porte’s girls soccer team lost 4-0 at Plymouth.
On Tuesday night, against the Pilgrims, the Slicers fared much better.
On the strength of a second-half surge, La Porte tied Plymouth 1-1 at Kesling Park on a cool, somewhat rainy night.
“They played with a lot of heart and a lot of passion,” Slicers’ coach John White said. “They played a really well-fought game. They didn’t take advantage of the chances they had to finish. Ultimately, I felt it should have been a 3-1 game, but I’m happy with the tie.”
After a fairly even opening half, La Porte (3-3-2) kind of took command at the outset of the second half.
And it cashed in versus the Pilgrims (2-3-2), as Madison Pierro earned a beautiful goal off a free kick from the far left side. She finished it to the upper-right corner of the net, and that knotted the score, 1-1, a little over four minutes into the second half.
“We practice those kinds of free kicks, but I never thought it would actually happen in a game,” Pierro said. “Sometimes we just mess around at practice, but we have to take games serious. It happened, it was a lucky goal and it went in. And I’m proud of it.”
Four minutes later, the Slicers’ Gabby Latchford made a nice run with the ball, but she hit it a little too far, and Plymouth’s goalie corralled it.
And Pierro had a couple more shots in the next five minutes, the first one of which the Pilgrims’ keeper saved.
Then, in the last 16 minutes, Plymouth had some quality chances to score, but La Porte goalie Rylee Penziol made some stalwart saves to keep it a 1-1 game.
All night, the Slicer senior was stout in net, and she racked up 13 saves.
“As always, Rylee’s just amazing,” White said. “We’re lucky to have her. If Rylee wasn’t in the goal, the score would be different. She’s a great teammate, she’s a great leader.”
In the contest, the Pilgrims had slightly more shots, 14-11.
The La Porte forward Latchford got kneed in her quad late in the game. She left the contest and didn’t return.
White said the trainer said it was just a muscle bruise, and it needs just rest and ice.
The first half was basically a stalemate, but Plymouth tallied the only goal and they out-shot La Porte 8-6.
The visitors struck first on Madison Smith’s goal with 13 minutes left in the opening half. That gave the Pilgrims a 1-0 cushion.
Earlier, Penziol made a terrific save, hitting Alicia Smith’s shot out of bounds for a corner midway through the half.
In total, in the first stanza, the Slicers had a few chances to score.
First, Jacqui Leal had a shot wide right of the goal with 26:45 remaining in the first. Then, about three minutes later, Morgan Llewellyn’s shot was grabbed by Plymouth’s keeper, keeping it a scoreless game. Later, with 5:16 to go in the opening half, Llewellyn’s shot was high following Megan Blank’s free kick.
La Porte's junior varsity fell 6-0.