COLUMBUS — Saturday was a day to remember for the Mount Vernon girls soccer team.
The Yellow Jackets got to play in a major league soccer stadium and won in exciting fashion. The Jackets survived an onslaught of shots from Mansfield Christian, including a late-game blitz, to hold on for a 1-0 victory at Columbus Crew Stadium.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Mount Vernon coach Vit Streska. “My heart is still pumping fast. Mansfield Christian is a great team. The last 20 minutes were the longest of my life.”
Despite the ball being in the Mansfield Christian end most of the first half, Mount Vernon was able to dent the scoreboard for the first and only time. Freshman Katy Israel took a free kick from just outside the goalie box with 5:30 left in the first half and planted in the back of the net, just over the outstretched hands of the Flames’ goalie.
The Jackets’ defense continued its impressive play in the second half, especially that of goalkeeper Kenzie Crawford. The Flames weren’t able to get too many good shots off on goal, thanks to the swarming defense. But, when they did, Crawford was there.
“We didn’t have as many opportunities on goal, but we definitely played good defense. We held our ground,” said senior co-captain Chelsie Boutin. “This was a real exciting opportunity and gave us a lot of spirit. We came together as a team defensively to hold the other team.”
The Flames had some decent opportunities in the second half, but the final minute was especially frantic as they tried to put in the equalizer. A shot, just as time ran out, busted through the defense and trickled off Crawford’s hands and near the net. But, it stopped short of the goal, then was cleared away and the Jackets held on for the victory.
“It was a quick pace out there. There was a lot of kicking and freaking out going on out there,” said senior co-captain Michelle Dobson of the final minutes.
“Kenzie did an amazing job in goal. She had some amazing, huge saves,” Streska said. “Our defense and our midfielders were truly amazing.
“We had some freshmen step up big time for us today. And our seniors did a great job making sure everyone stayed calm. It was a great team win.”
The victory was even sweeter for the players since it came while playing in a major league stadium.
“It was really awesome, all the support we had, and playing on this big field is really nice,” Boutin said. “We were real excited, especially when we walked through the gate and came out on the field to warm up.”