Our KES senior girls soccer Highlanders began their 2021 School Sport Nova Scotia (SSNS) season on Wednesday, September 29 evening hosting the Park View Education Centre Panthers under the lights on our Tanna turf field. No rain, very little wind, and temperatures in the mid-teens provided excellent conditions and a great backdrop between the teams who played a tightly contested match in the last game of the twenty-third annual KES Invitational Tournament only 11 days earlier, that being a narrow 1-0 Highlander victory.
From the opening whistle until halftime, our players were full of energy, commitment, and desire to be first to the ball, to possess it, and to exert as much pressure on their opponents as possible. The thought was if this objective could be met, the scoring chances would come. They didn’t have to wait long before right full back Hannah Bryant ‘22 and speedy right winger Reegan Wagg ‘24 combined in the fifth minute to break through the Panther’s defence, and for Wagg to catch the opposing goalkeeper off her goal line with a well-placed shot from a very tight angle. One-nil Highlanders. Bolstered by this fantastic start to the match, KES continued to pressure Park View deep in their own end only to see half a dozen scoring chances squandered by missing the target, hitting posts and crossbars, or to being robbed by the scintillating saves of the Panther keeper. Impressively, KES upped the quality of their game by moving and passing the ball quicker while looking for gaps in the opposing formation. This composed approach paid off for the home squad as they fired in three more goals by halftime. In the nineteenth minute, co-captain Jill Griffith ‘22, playing in the striker’s role, received a great pass from midfielder Eva Palov ‘24 and rocketed a shot to give KES a 2-0 lead. In the thirty-first minute, senior Katie Trifos ’22 scored her first goal of the season with a great one-touch finish following some great set-up plays by attacking midfielder, Yulan Farias ‘24. Five minutes before half-time, speedy left-winger Fiona MacDonald ‘24 was played into space by a great pass from Griffith and beat the Panther keeper with a composed and well-placed shot for a 4-0 lead at the break.
Without missing a beat, the second half began in similar fashion to the game’s beginning, the exception being four new faces were inserted into the line-up. Sabine Wellard ‘24 and Lucy Goddard ‘23 slotted into the left and right fullback positions respectively, Maria Arena ‘24 went into the attacking midfield role, and Lennon Rutledge ’23 replaced Danica Scully ‘24 in goal. A re-invigorated Panthers squad made life difficult for KES in the second half as their coordinated defensive efforts thwarted our Highlander attacks. Patience was the name of the game, and this paid off in the eightieth minute with an absolutely stunning Highlander goal. After some really nice passing plays between centre-backs Ava Demmings ‘25 and Charlotte Brinston-Conway ‘23, co-captain and holding midfielder Neila MacDonald ‘22 and Yulan Farias, Jill Griffith used great change of pace and speed to track down a ball played deep into the left-wing. With the ball almost on the goal line, Griffith crossed a perfect pass into the on-rushing Katie Trifos, who used the outside of her right foot to one-time the ball past the Panther’s goalkeeper and inside the goalpost for a 5-0 lead. Reegan Wagg capped off the scoring in the eighty-fifth minute in similar fashion to that of her first goal, this time it was from the left wing, as her hard drive once again found the inside of the far post leaving the Panther keeper helpless. Full credit goes to KES goalkeepers Scully and Rutledge who combined for the clean sheet and were required to maintain sharp concentration over physical exertion in this match. Final score: KES 6 – Park View 0.
Well played, KES!
Junior School Teacher
Director of Soccer Operations
Head Coach Girls’ Prep Soccer Team