Building momentum

oach Greg Musser says his Seymour girls soccer team needs to play two halves each match like it performed in the second half of Saturday’s season opener against Providence at C.B. Hess Memorial Field.

In their home season-opener, the Owls started slow and finished strong.

Despite putting their best offensive series on the pitch late in the game, they weren’t able to overcome ninth-ranked Providence.

The Pioneers had a 3-0 lead at the half before each team scored twice in the second half for a 5-2 win for the visitors.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Musser said. “In the second half, I thought we played much better. We just kind of told them to settle down in the middle. There was just way too much one-touch in the middle, playing too fast.

“Once we were able to slow it down, we were actually able to connect with our runs. Our main adjustments had to come in the defensive end. They kept serving the ball over the top, so we had to make some adjustments, and we did a pretty nice job when we did that.”

Musser attributed the slow start to his team’s first-match jitters.

“I think it’s kind of nerves and jitters. This was our first game, and (Providence had) already played two games, so they’ve been able to work through that,” Musser said. “We had some inexperience in the back line. We have a couple girls that have never played varsity minutes and a freshman that’s back there, too, so there was some inexperience for us in this game.

“We chose a very good opponent to learn against today in Providence. We played a little tight, a little worrisome about making mistakes, but we kind of settled in the second half.”

The Pioneers (3-0) took a 1-0 lead at 30:22, scored their second goal seven minutes later and made it 3-0 at the 9:26 mark. The score remained that way until intermission.

Providence built its lead to 5-0 with 10:29 left in the match, and the Owls finally lit up their side of the scoreboard on a goal by Marie Lenart off an assist from Grace Hartman at 6:43.

Maria Cerda closed out the scoring for the Owls off an assist by Lenart with two minutes remaining.

The Pioneers attempted 22 shots to nine attempts for the Owls.

Seymour goalie Rachel Collett had nine goal saves.

Musser said the Owls were aggressive on their goals.

“We have very aggressive players between Maria Cerda and Marie Lenart,” Musser said. “You put a 50-50 ball in front of them, and they are going to go after it. The second goal, their goalie bobbled it, and Marie Lenart was able to pop a rebound up for Maria Cerda to put in for us.

“They have a nose for the ball, and those are not their first and only goals. They’re going to score plenty more for us this year.”

In preparing for Thursday’s match at Scottsburg, Musser said his team will work on defensive positioning.

“We need to work on defensive rotations within the back line,” Musser said. “We’ve concentrated a lot in the middle, and we’ve switched formations about defense in the middle. Now, we need to move it to the back line and talk about some different things there. We’ll have a good chance to implement some things in the next couple days.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.