HOWARD — Sometimes, even good teams need a little bit of luck.
Northridge controlled the soccer ball for the majority of the game, getting off several good shots on goal against East Knox on Thursday. But, the Vikings needed a rare play as time was winding down to beat the host Bulldogs 1-0.
The Vikings (6-3-1) had peppered East Knox goalkeeper Robert Fields with a lot of shots down the stretch, but Fields kept coming up with save after save. Then, after another nice save from Fields, luck finally showed itself for the Vikings.
Fields punted the ball from the top of the penalty box toward the other end. At about midfield, Northridge’s Zach Thompson reached up with his leg and booted the ball out of midair. The ball went flying back toward the goal, over the head of Fields and bounced into the net for the game-winner.
“That was incredible. We do touches every day and hate them. But, now I think we’ll appreciate them a little more. Zach put them into good use,” said Northridge coach Abby Skoda. “We were definitely frustrated. We had been creating opportunities, but were not able to finish them. That was a good goal — a stress reliever.”
“That’s a tough way to lose,” said East Knox coach Geoff Green. “That’s tough in the last five minutes when they score, I hate to call it that, but a freak goal. It’s one you very seldom see. They had a really nice shot on that to beat us at the end.”
The teams traded punches throughout most of the game, with neither goalie flinching. Fields made several nice saves to keep the score knotted at zero.
“Robert is really upset with the goal, but if he did not have the game he had, we could have lost by three or four goals. He had a good game and can’t beat himself up on a goal like that,” Green said. “We played two years ago and lost 8-0, so I feel pretty good we were able to play them this close. We had opportunities, they’re just a good team.”
The Vikings’ speed was a big factor in the way they were able to control and possess the ball. Northridge kept the ball in the East Knox end for much of the game, setting up several scoring opportunities, including one that hit the post and bounced away.
“They’ve got a lot of speed on their team, but I don’t think they capitalized like they should,” said Green. “We definitely hung in there.”
“We’re getting better every game. Things are finally starting to click,” said Skoda. “When we get in a groove like this, it’s really cool to watch.”
East Knox (7-3-1) had its share of opportunities, though. Several good shots on goal went just wide or over the cross bar, including some nice attempts on corner kicks.