By Colin Bado, TSB Contributor
With the temperature dropping Tuesday night, rain turned to mist as the McKinney High and McKinney North girls soccer teams squared off at Ron Poe Stadium. Fighting the elements, the girls left nothing on the pitch during this non-district rivalry.
MHS won the match 2-0, but both teams entered the night with positive momentum. The Class 5A Lionettes are finishing up a successful preseason before district play begins next week. The Class 4A Lady Bulldogs McKinney North were coming off a tournament win in Frisco last weekend.
During the first 20 minutes, both teams battled for possession. Neither team was able to create scoring opportunities.
North Coach Lance Lovell subbed in Brooke Rasor at midfield in the 18th minute in an effort to change the tempo. Despite his efforts, in the 23rd minute Lionette captain Natalie Throneberry managed to work the ball down the left sideline and crossed the ball between North defenders to teammate Morgan Ford who found the back of the net.
The Lionettes continued to build momentum after the goal and persistently put pressure on North’s defense. In the 26th minute, Lionette Lauren Neely had a hard strike on goal but was denied by North keeper Clarissa Ledesma.
Lovell subbed in Sandy Pachicano in the 31st minute and North began to put stress on the Lionette defense. As the Lady Dawgs began to move the ball into Lion territory they created more opportunities to level the score. In the 35th minute, North forward Belicia Mendiola had a chance to tie the game up with a direct kick just outside the 18-yard box. Mendiola struck the ball well but watched it float just over the crossbar.
With four minutes remaining in the half, McKinney High Coach Alex Pantorotto subbed in Sarah Morris. It paid off. With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Morris was able to flick the ball to Thronebery, who weaved her way through the North defense and put the ball past the North keeper to put McKinney up 2-0.
Even though North was down two goals to start the second half they refused to give up. Through set plays the Lady Dawgs managed to get he ball into the box and put a few shots on goal.
McKinney put little pressure on the Lady Dawgs in the second half but managed to maintain possession through precision ball movement. The Lionettes played smart soccer, allowing the Lady Dawgs few opportunities to put a mark on the scoreboard.
North captain Mikey Mendiola came close to putting her name on the score sheet in the 68th minute but was denied by Lionettte goalie Madelynn Schober. North forward Hadlie Tucker also had an opportunity to score but missed over the crossbar.
North just couldn’t work the ball past McKinney’s defense. At times North played with precision but came up empty handed. McKinney maintained their lead and watched the clock tick down as they tallied another victory on their crosstown rivals.
During the second half, Lovell made seven substituions and Pantorotto made three, allowing numerous players to see the pitch.
Next, the MHS girls will travel to Lake Dallas for a Friday game at 7:30 p.m. The North girls travel to Denton for a 7 p.m. game Friday, as well.
For the results of other soccer games around the area Tuesday night, seee TSB’s Soccer Scoreboard by clicking here.