The Dux varsity girls soccer team opened their MHSAA District Tournament with a 3-1 win over the Chix. It was the third time the two teams took to the field, and for the third time, the Dux left with a victory. “Playing a team 3 times in a season is never easy. What makes this unique is that our kids literally sit in the same classes as one another, so the two teams are very familiar with one another. There is no sneaking up on anyone. It continues to be a great rivalry game.”
Despite seizing control and dictating the pace and tempo early in the match, the Dux found it difficult breaking down a tough Chix defense. “They did a great job in the first half of clogging the middle. They are scrappy and physical and have a lot of speed, especially on the outsides and up top.” The first half ended 0-0, with the Dux outshooting the Chix 7-0.
“In the first half, we were hanging on to the ball a bit too long, and at times we were too indecisive. We played a little anxious and rushed things a bit offensively, which prevented us from putting the ball in the back of the net.”
After some adjustments at halftime, the Dux continued to put pressure on the Chix defensively, and took a 1-0 lead about 10 minutes into the second half. A beautiful give and go between Gabby Campa (SR) and Samantha Hecht (SO) caused some confusion among the Chix back line. Campa took a ball near midfield and drove towards the center of the field before laying the ball wide to Hecht. After beating two defenders, Hecht slotted the ball back across the top of the penalty box to a wide open Campa. Her one-time blast beat Erica Potter to her left side.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Dux struck again when Ryleigh Farrell (JR) gathered a ball in her own goal box, and punted a ball towards midfield. Hecht recieved the ball out of the air and turned towards goal. Her left footed blast caromed off the crossbar, but Makenna Anderson (FR) was there to pounce on the rebound, giveing the Dux a 2-0 lead.
A miscommunication off of a Chix corner kick allowed the Chix to stay in the game. A ball played to the near post skimmed off of the head of a Dux player and right to the chest of an attacking player for the Chix. The ball dropped nicely in front of her and she calmly drove the ball past Farrell. The Chix came close to tying the game after a player got in behind the Dux defense. However, Farrell’s diving save allowed her to deflect the ball with her right hand, preserving the lead for the Dux. “That was a phenomenal one on one save. Ryleigh doesn’t make that save, the whole complexion of the game changes. That was absolutely huge!”
With under five seconds remaining, Hecht put the game out of reach by driving across the box off of a Dux throw-in, turning and blasting a shot into the back of the net, making it 3-1.
“East is physical and has dangerous speed. They defended pretty well tonight and kept us on our toes defensively all game long, my hat goes off to them and I want to congratulate them on a good season.”
“I am proud of the effort and energy with which our girls played tonight. We played well offensively, and were able to possess the ball really well. Defensively, we played soundly and did a good job of disrupting their timing offensively. Great team effort that gives us some more confidence heading into the district semifinal match on Thursday.”
The Dux move to 13-5-2 on the season, and will face the winner of Byron Center and Holland Christian at 5:00 on Thursday, at the Holland High School Soccer Complex.