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Girls Suffer Loss to Hereford Maroon at Battlefield Blast

August 28, 2021 2:00 PM (Hanover, PA) – This past weekend the Wildfire played in the Battlefield Blast Tournament in Gettysburg, PA. As with their previous tournament they were placed into 1 of 2 brackets to compete for the championship. Among the other teams in their bracket were Hereford Maroon 2011G out of Hereford, MD and  NL Strikers out of eastern PA. For the first game on Saturday, the Wildfire would play Hereford.

Baker throws the ball into to Wagner
Baker throws the ball into to Wagner

From the blow of the first whistle for this game, the girls came out very fast. At the 1’,  Wagner darted a pass to Stone for a shot before it was scooped up by the goalie. At the 5’ on a speedy burst from Wagner again down the left, the ball was tapped over to Abarbanel who drove down the center of the goal box before passing back to Wagner who was almost able to get a shot off within 5ft of the goal post before it was bumped out of reach. 

A minute later, Hereford got the ball into Wildfire territory for the first time, but only via a kick from the backfield. This would be a heavy theme throughout this game as the majority of possession and time were controlled by the Wildfire. At the 7’, Santoni had a huge shot on the goal from midfield that had the distance and power but went wide-left. Shortly after this Santoni shot it again from the same spot but this one was recovered by the goalie. 

At 9 minutes, Hereford was awarded a free kick from the upper right of the field and sent a beautiful kick to the far post but wildfire defenders were positioned well and Hereford was unable to capitalize. 30 seconds later, Wagner sent a ball to Hengbuoy in the center who launched another shot on goal but it sailed high over the crossbar. 

Belgrave intercepts the ball between Hereford players to clear.
Belgrave intercepts the ball between Hereford players to clear.

At the 12’, Hengbuoy drove up the right side and kicked a beautiful cross just in front of Carey who tried to get there to tap it in but was unable to get a foot on it. At the 14’ mark, a Belgrave throw-in from the left to Blyden produced another shot opportunity but was booted away. A couple minutes later, a throw-in from McGinnis resulted in a hand ball in the box. Murray came forward to take the PK and shot it but the kick was low and to the center where the goalie easily snatched it up.

On the return, a Hereford player tried to send the ball into Wildfire territory again from mid-field and McCutcheon was there to snatch it up. With 4 minutes to go in the half, Wagner drove down the left side with one man to beat and took a shot but it was deflected. At the 24’ mark, Blyden’s attempt resulted in a corner kick on the right. Hengbuoy’s kick was good and sailed for the far post where Frey was waiting but it bounced over her foot before she could get the shot off and that ended the half. 

Frey drives down the right side of the field
Frey drives down the right side of the field

At the 26’, a chest from Hengbuoy and a kick back from midfield caught the goalie off guard as she dropped the ball but was luckily able to recover. A minute later on a Hereford corner kick from the right side, the ball was sent far over everyone’s heads. At the 28’ mark, a nice play from Santoni to Abarbanel up the right line where it was dumped to Wagner who drilled a shot right into the goalie’s hands. A minute later, on another Wildfire corner from the right, Hengbuoy sent another ball at the far post with no teammates being able to get there for the tap in. 

At the 30’, Wagner dribbled into the far right corner before getting a powerful shot off that just didn’t have the angle as the goalie was able to catch it. A trip on Wagner at mid-field at the 31’ resulted in another free kick by Hengbuoy but was easily recovered this time by the Hereford goalie. A couple minutes later, on another free kick, Abarbanel sent the ball from left midfield to Wagner who almost tapped it in before the goalie was able to jump far out and save it. 

At the 34’, Carey got a shot off from the left corner but the goalie was there to pick it up and at the 38’ mark, Wagner had another arcing cross that almost went in as it tipped off the goalie’s fingertips and into space but no one was there for the rebound. 

Stone attempts to shoot into the net off a pass
Stone attempts to shoot into the net off a pass

To their credit, all throughout the game, the Wildfire defenders steadily kept the ball on the other side of the field and opportunities were very slim for Hereford. 

With about 10 minutes to go , Wagner hit another one from the far corner and this time it tapped over to Abarbanel who was within 10ft of the goal to kick it as it sailed over the crossbar. 

At the 45’, a Hengbuoy deflection up the left side to Abarbanel resulted in a beautiful shot from the left corner that sailed right by the goalie and just missed the far post. 

Henbuoy's shoot a corner from the right side corner
Henbuoy’s shoot a corner from the right side corner

With time winding down and the game scoreless, Hereford was trying to drive down the right side when their player fell to the ground and a free kick was issued from just outside the right corner of the goal box. The kick was good and sailed into the far left corner of the net out of McCutcheon’s reach to make it 0-1.

Despite the large disparities in both time of possession and shots on goal, the Maroon would go on to win the game as time ran out. The Wildfire would now have to win out to get to the championship game just as it did in the Hershey Cup two weeks before. 

Their next game was scheduled for 3 hours later at 6pm against the NL Strikers but weather moved in and the game was delayed and ultimately cancelled by the tournament officials. The result ended up sending the Wildfire to play first place Severna Park the next day from the other bracket.

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