By Rob Tucker
FREWSBURG - The halftime stats for the Frewsburg Bears suggested they should have been on their way to a lopsided victory on Thursday afternoon.
Nikki Weber of Frewsburg chases down the ball during Thursday’s West Division girls soccer game. Below, Jenessa Annis of Frewsburg, left, takes control of the ball in front of Southwestern’s Taylor Dewey. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Rob Tucker
In the midst of a West Division girls soccer battle with visiting Southwestern, the Bears had peppered the Lady Trojans with 16 shots - seven of which had been on goal - and had spent the majority of the opening half at the offensive end.
Stats, however, aren't always the best indicators, for as the Bears, who had three shots careen off the post during the opening 40 minutes, walked off the field at the break the score still read, 0-0.
But coach Ericka Alm knew it was just a matter of time.
"I don't think we've hit more posts (all year)," she marveled. "It was bound to go in. When we're taking that many shots and we have those opportunities, you can't give up. You've got to keep making them and eventually they're going in the back of the net."
Finally, the floodgates opened - just as Alm had hoped.
Nikki Weber tallied twice in a 30-second span early in the second half and the Bears' defense withstood a late Southwestern charge to secure the slim, 2-1 victory.
The win helped Frewsburg remain unbeaten this year, and improved its overall record to 5-0-1 and its league record to 5-0-0.
Southwestern, meanwhile, fell to 1-5-1 overall and 1-5 in league.
Weber broke the scoreless tie at the 50th minute, winning possession of the ball in the area following Janessa Annis' free kick and chipping it over goalie Britta Johnson's outstretched arms.
Taking advantage of Southwestern's momentary shock, less than 30 seconds later Annis sent a long pass down the center of the field and the deceptively-quick Weber outraced her defenders to score on the breakaway and give her squad a sudden two-goal advantage.
"(Nikki) played hard," Alm said. "We knew the (Southwestern defense) was a little vulnerable, so if we could just get (a pass) up (the field) then we could possible out-run them. Nikki has a great stride and she just pushed it. She was really good, I'm really proud of her."
The scores were the third and fourth of the season for Weber, while Annis upped her assists total to three, giving her a team-high 13 points.
"Frewsburg came out (of the half) and bang, bang - two goals," Southwestern coach Derek Houser said. "They got us on our heels a little bit (after the first goal) and I think the second goal was a direct result of that."
Frewsburg looked as though it would be in control for the duration, but a 20-minute time stoppage - a Southwestern player suffered an apparent leg injury and had to be carted off the field - gave the Lady Trojans new life.
Four minutes out of the stoppage a foul was called in the Frewsburg defensive zone from about 25 yards out. Emily Wuebbolt's free kick was nearly snagged by Frewsburg goalie Libby Hartley, but instead the ball slipped from her grasp and found its way to freshman Taylor Dewey's foot.
Dewey did the rest, burying the shot and cutting the deficit in half with 16 minutes remaining in the game.
The goal was Dewey's first this season.
Southwestern, energized by the goal, nearly tallied the equalizer on a number of occasions - one of their best chances came at the 76th minute when Nicole Cooper had a shot sail just wide - but the Lady Trojans would be unable to beat Hartley, who finished with six saves, again before the final buzzer sound.
"It was a good push at the end and they didn't hang their heads," Houser said. "They worked hard - even when we had some unfortunate things happen with injuries - but you can't spot good teams leads, because then they'll dictate (the game) when you really have to get those goals."