Late goal lifts Webb over Northern
A “heartbreaker” for Northern Vance, J.F. Webb’s win Monday over the Vikings gave a lift to a Warriors side that has been dealt a pair of significant blows.
Webb, down two of its captains, rallied from a goal down and Kamaria Kaalund clinched a 2-1 victory with a 76th-minute strike. The sophomore collected a pass from junior captain Armani Grillo before dribbling in and finishing on a breakaway.
Webb had already lost junior captain Ana Santana for the season to a torn ACL; now it’s likely star player Abbey Smith, also a junior, won’t return from an injury suffered before league play commenced.
“We’ve had to kind of adapt to losing some of our key players, so that’s been a little bit of a struggle,” said Webb head coach Mary Robinson. “But I think our girls have taken on the responsibility and have gotten better.”
Webb leveled Monday in the 54th minute on an own goal following a Michaela Rathbone corner kick. Elizabeth Gresham initiated the sequence with a through-ball for Rathbone, who found open space on the right side of the Warriors’ attack.
“Our conference is pretty tough and they were looking forward to this game,” Robinson said of her team. “It was a little slow in the first half, but thankfully, they came out in the second half ready to play.”
It was Webb’s third 3-A Big Eight Conference win while Northern dropped to 1-8-0 in league play.
“It was one of the heartbreakers,” said Vikings head coach Razvan Tegean. “But I told the girls I’m very proud of them. I think we’ve come along a lot from the beginning of the season. We showed that tonight. We played extremely well and we played hard.”
Mckallah Pendergrass opened the scoring for Northern in the 47th minute when she knocked in the rebound of her initial strike that was saved by Webb goalkeeper Carla Pike.
Webb visits Granville Central on Thursday and Northern Vance hosts Cedar Ridge on Wednesday.
The Warriors and Vikings meet again in Northern’s season finale May 7.
“Those are a lot of times tough games,” said Tegean. “You’ve played them one time and you feel like you almost had it. If you’re not focused, it will turn against you.”
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