One solid half of play wasn’t enough for West Holmes to leave West Holmes High School with a very good feeling following an 11-0 defeat to a gifted Ontario team.
The Lady Knights’ second game of the year looked good for the better part of 40 minutes and then fell apart quickly as the Warriors displayed just how lethal they can be on offense the entire second half.
“That score on the scoreboard, that is not an acceptable score,” West Holmes head coach Brooke Fox said to her team following the 11-0 whitewash. “We have to come back in our next game with a renewed sense of confidence and just forget this game. Ontario is a very talented team, probably one of the best teams we will face this season, but we can’t let that happen again.”
West Holmes actually played a very respectable first half. The defense, led by Kaylin Martin and Dani Roll along with keeper Abby Rohr, managed to keep the high-flying Warriors offense at bay. However, with about 15 minutes in the half, the Warriors finally got through to take a 1-0 lead. Ontario smelled blood and struck just 90 seconds later to forge a 2-0 lead.
That goal seemed to take a lot out of the Lady Knights, who were facing an uphill battle to come back from one goal down against a team as talented as the Warriors. Now two down, the air seemed to ooze out of West Holmes in the second half.
“I was so proud of the girls and the way they played in the first half against a team that talented,” Fox said. “They really gave me chills with their effort, especially on the defensive side of the ball. We played so solid, and we had kids stepping up and covering for each other. Then they just kept coming at us, and it wore us down. Plus we started to press to try to find the net, and that caused us to break down some.”
Fox said she could sense the team losing confidence after the late score in the first half, and she tried valiantly to boost their moral.
That effort fell to the wayside early in the second half when Ontario quickly went off for three electrifying goals, led by the talented trio of Bria Melsse, Alexis Bise and Alex Jacobs. Bise in particular presented all kinds of problems for West Holmes as she ran around and through the Lady Knights all night. The second half belonged to an Ontario team that went all the way to regional finals last season and finished as regional runner-up, and the Warriors return a huge chunk of talented athletes who understand the game very well.
As Ontario continued to apply the pressure, the Lady Knights simply couldn’t keep pace, and a great first-half effort became a distant memory.
“I tried to get us back up emotionally and mentally, but it didn’t last very long,” Fox said.
Back-up keeper Rohr was forced into action, and Fox said she gave a tremendous effort, considering her lack of experience in goal.
“She graciously stepped up and volunteered to play that role, and she has given us a really good effort,” Fox said of Rohr. “But against a team like that, it can be so difficult. All of their kids know the game, they are well coached and they can really apply a lot of pressure on a team offensively with all of their weapons.”
With Ontario controlling the ball with ease, West Holmes simply couldn’t generate much offense, and the game got out of hand late.
Fox said the Lady Knights’ first game, a 1-0 loss to Dover that was called after one half due to the weather, was perhaps a better measure of what West Holmes can be. She said Maddie DeWitt, Martin and Roll provide veteran leadership on the defensive end that should help stabilize a very young and inexperienced team.
With strikers like Kerri Wagner, Whitney Miller, Charlotte Brown and Carlee Amos, who came off the bench to provide some offensive spark, Fox believes that people have not seen the best this team has to offer, and she said this game doesn’t exemplify what the Lady Knights are capable of this year.
“This score wasn’t acceptable, but we understand who we played and the talent level there,” Fox said. “We just have to get back up and come right back out and play with confidence and effort, and we’ll be OK.”