Bryn Mawr >> As the final whistle sounded in Baldwin School’s 1-0 soccer victory against Shipley Sept. 2 and both teams walked over to their respective bench after battling for 90 minutes, both coaches talked with their team and shared their enthusiasm about their ability to stay dialed in with the game plan.
Baldwin entered the contest hoping for strong defensive play to create offensive opportunities while Shipley, who was missing some attacking players entered with a defensive mindset and hold their opponent’s offense at bay.
That is exactly what took place as the Polar Bears had numerous opportunities only to be denied by Shipley’s defense anchored by Sophomore keeper Grace Gordon, who registered 15 saves before Baldwin was finally able to find the back of the net when Sophomore Gia Vicari pushed a perfect thru ball from fellow Sophomore Celia Page past Gordon in the 90th minute (final minute of extra time).
“I thought this win taught us a lot of lessons,” said Baldwin second year coach Adrian Cox, an outstanding player in own right at the University of Richmond. “In years past we have lost close games like this to talented teams like Shipley and this shows the girls that each play matters and in this case it was the final one. I thought our defense was stellar and it created opportunities for our offense.”
Third-year Shipley coach Dakota Carroll, who starred at Shipley before having a standout career at St. Bonaventure University said, “Since we are missing a couple of our attacking players we have been working hard on our defensive shape all pre-season because we knew we had to have a defensive minded approach. I thought our hard work showed today despite the unfortunate result.”
Most of the second half featured Baldwin’s offense on the attack spending most of the time in the front third of the pitch only to see Shipley’s defense stand tall. Senior captain Jennifer Dietrich, juniors Marissa McGarry and Rachel White and sophomore Natalie Sgro all had golden scoring opportunities but each time it was Gordon coming up with the save to keep the game scoreless.
“Asking all of our freshmen and sophomores to step in and play like juniors and seniors will help the team later in the season when we get into league play,” Carroll said.
When Gordon was not making the save it was the play of Shipley’s center backs Junior Eliza Green and Freshman Sarah Cotteta clearing the ball from harms way. When the Gators did it have scoring chances it was Baldwin Sophomore Simi Bleznak making the stop.
“This is a great game for us to build on and I believe this win will give our young team confidence as we continue to use our non-league games for preparation for Inter-Ac play,” said Cox.