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Blue Advances to Battlefield Finals With Win

August 29, 2021 9:00 AM (Hanover, PA) – For the 3rd game of the Battlefield Blast Tournament this past Sunday, the Wildfire were slated to play the 1st place team from the opposite bracket which was Severna Park Green Force. The winner of the match would go on to advance to the championship match of the tournament. 

Stone celebrates with Wagner after her goal
Wagner congratulates Stone after her goal

On the very first play of the game, Stone drove up the left side to the corner and tried to cross it but was blocked. Abarbanel was able to get control of the ball and crossed it to McGinnis who took a great shot but it was saved by the goalie. A minute later, Henbuoy sent the ball across midfield as a Force defender committed a hand ball just outside the penalty box. Hengbuoy took the free kick straight down the center into the goalkeeper’s hands who dropped it and it rolled across the line. Wildfire up 1-0. 

At the 6’ mark, Abarbanel passed to Wagner who drove up the right side , juked out another player and had a clear cross to the center as the goalie jumped up to steal it away. A minute later, a Force player grabbed the ball from Wagner and launched a shot toward the goal. The ball bounced, and almost went over McCutcheon who leapt up just in time to grab it for the save. 

At the 8’, a Force player drove up the center and just as Santoni/Murray attempted to get the ball, the shot was taken which deflected off Santoni only for the shot to be taken again. This time Santoni was able to get a hold of it and clear it outside before another shot could be taken.

Thomas centers a ball to the goal box from the left
Thomas centers a ball to the goal box from the left

At the 9’, on a throw-in from the right side, Hengbuoy was called for a push to the ground and a PK was taken by Severna Park. The Force player stepped up and took the shot which sailed into the lower left as McCutcheon was unable to stop it. 1-1

A couple minutes later, on a Force throw-in, the ball was driven down the right side and it was kicked into the goal box as McCutcheon recovered it before the shot could be taken. 

At the 12’ mark, there was some controversy as Abarbanel was hit from behind and a yellow card was issued to Coach Wagner for defending his player. In the 14th minute, Hengbuoy passed to Thomas in the right corner where she wrestled with it a bit before finally being able to cross it to Wagner who was able to get a foot on it just enough to tap it to Stone who’s chipped it just past the right of the goalie to make it 2-1

At the 16’, a pass from Stone to Hengbuoy resulted in a great shot but sailed just left of the post. For much of the first half, defensive efforts from Baker/Belgrave/Murray and Santoni kept the ball upfield to force Severna to take longer range shots. At the 18’ , Stone almost had another goal as Carey launched a cross from midfield ,where Stone’s foot touched the ball just as the goalie pounced on it.

Murray moves to intercept the ball from the left.
Murray moves to intercept the ball from the left.

At the 18’, in what was a more puzzling moment than anything, Coach McGinnis was issued a yellow card for asking the ref a question. As the half wound down, Murray had a number of good kicks back to the offense when Severna attempted to start driving up the field.

Two minutes into the second half,  Wagner attempted a PK after being pushed down, but unfortunately it hit off the crossbar by inches as the ball traveled straight up into the air on the deflection. A few minutes later, McGinnis would pass up to Wagner again. From there she would take another shot but it would be deflected by the defender back to her. After this, Wagner made an additional attempt to cross the ball but it was deflected again and bounced off the hands of the defender , but the ref was unable to see it to make the call. 

For the next few minutes, the Force began to have success driving down the field and were able to get a number of shots off on McCutcheon who was able to recover them for no goal. 

The Wildfire girls cheering on their opponent after the game.
The Wildfire girls thanking Severna Park on a well played match after the whistle blew.

At the 34’, Frey sent the ball to the center from left field where Thomas took a shot but it traveled just outside the goal. A minute later the ball would end up downfield where good defensive plays by both Baker and Murray would send the ball back up to clear. 

With 9 minutes left, Abarbanel took a corner but the subsequent ball kick was lost in the scrum. 4 minutes later, Hengbuoy had a corner kick from the left which sailed over the defenders to McGinnis who had an open shot but couldn’t connect. Abarbanel was able to grab the ball and shoot it, but missed. 

Two minutes later Abarbanel got a deflection from Hengbuoy, dribbled through two defenders and sent it through the upper left into the back of the net. The play was very fast and the goalie had very limited time/visibility to see it before it was shot. Wildfire. 3-1

With 1 minute left, the Force had a corner kick from the right and it sailed into the scrum where it was tapped in to make it 3-2 as the game ended. With the win, the Wildfire advanced to the championship game to replay the Hereford Maroon team that they lost to a day earlier.