OSWEGO — Scoring twice in the final 8:02 of the game, the Oswego varsity girls soccer team defeated Hannibal 2-0 on Saturday on Senior Day at Turrill Street Field.
Sophomore Mia Fierro tallied the game’s first goal with 8:02 remaining off an assist from senior Amelia Rastley. Junior Kathleen Winchek added an insurance marker with 4:36 to play for Oswego (1-7).
Oswego goalkeeper Emma Burger made five saves.
Hannibal starting goalie Sophia Salladin recorded 17 saves. Zoey Turaj played the last five minutes and stopped two shots.
Prior to the game, the seniors from both teams were recognized for their contributions to their respective programs.
Honored from Oswego were seniors Amelia Rastley, Megan Cheeley, and Sophia Brosch.
Seniors from Hannibal (0-3) were also recognized. Seniors on Hannibal’s roster are Emma Wood, Brianna Dattellas, Trisha Fiumara, and Jennifer Pittman.
Although the Buccaneers dominated the game in terms of possession and scoring chances, the Warriors held the hosts in check nearly all the way.
Hannibal coach Megan Daley said her team played well in the battle of Oswego County, but, “unfortunately we just came up short.”
She gave credit to Salladin and the defense for keeping her team in the game.
“Our defense has been stellar. Sammy Emmons out left played great. Julia Shortslef out left played great, Sophia played great in net,” Daley said.
The Hannibal defense was tested frequently in the first half. Oswego forward Isabella Koproski created good scoring opportunities. In the opening minutes, she worked in deep along the right side and crossed the ball to the center, but Hannibal’s Shortsleft cleared the ball out of danger. Moments later, Koproski took a shot from a sharp angle along the right side and Salladin scooped it up for the save.
Minutes later, Koproski sent a pass ahead for Winchek, whose centering pass was knocked away by the Warriors. Then Catherine Callen took a shot from about 25 yards out and Salladin stopped it.
Perhaps the best scoring chance of the first half was when Koproski took a shot from straight on and Salladin jumped to her left to knock the ball away.
Even though his team was not yet on the board, Oswego coach Brian Greene said he liked what he was seeing from his team in the first half.
“We kind of still felt down because it was 0-0, but I really liked what was happening. We were really getting to a lot of balls and connecting more passes,” Greene said. “It felt like (a goal) was coming and then it finally did. We just needed one to break through.”
Hannibal, however, kept the game at 0-0 at halftime. Salladin made another huge save when Koproski took a high, hard shot from about 22 yards out. Salladin leapt and tipped the ball, then gathered it for the stop.
Offensively for the Warriors, sophomore Lena Turaj took a couple of shots on goal. Her second one, near the end of the first half, was a left-footed strike that was saved by Burger.
Daley said she was encouraged by her team’s play.
“We knew we were the underdog, but we thought we might be able to pull off an upset,” she said. “We came really close. I’m super proud of them.”
In the second half, the Bucs dialed up the frequency and intensity of their attacks. Also, their defense turned back any threats by the Warriors.
“They did a good job. They were ready. We’ve done a lot of defending this year so it’s one part of the game that we’ve practiced a lot,” Greene said of his team’s defense.
At the other end of the field, Oswego’s Winchek used her speed to work in deep for scoring chances. Her shot from the left side just outside of the 18-yard box was saved by Salladin, and another rush led to a sharp-angle shot from the right side. The Hannibal keeper cut off the angle and made the save.
Moments later, Winchek raced in alone against the keeper, and Salladin charged out of the net to deflect Winchek’s shot wide to the left with about 24:00 to go in the second half.
Hannibal’s Lena Turaj took a long shot from the right side that Burger stopped. Just after that, Turaj centered a pass to Maddie Ruggio, whose shot deflected off an Oswego player back toward midfield.
Winchek made another rush for the Bucs, but her shot, under pressure from the charging Salladin, was barely wide left.
Oswego finally scored with 8:02 left in the game. Fierro took a high shot from the right side. Salladin got her hand on the ball, but could not stop its momentum. The ball got behind her into the net for a 1-0 Oswego lead. Rastley assisted on the play.
The second Buccaneer goal came with 4:36 remaining. From close range, Winchek shot one into the right corner of the net to beat Hannibal backup goalie Zoey Turaj and make it 2-0.
Greene said it was nice to see the Oswego offense get more opportunities to make plays, and that the cumulative effect of the team’s hard work paid dividends in the second half.
“We’ve been in so many one-sided games. It was nice just to have a game to be able to see both sides of the ball a little bit more and see our offense on the other end,” Greene said. “It was nice to see the girls have some success. It’s been a tough year on the results side, but there’s been growth. I thought we saw that today.”