Bengal girls soccer falls to Nation Ford

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood girls soccer team, fresh off a 2-1victory over T.L. Hanna in the first round of the 5A state playoffs, ran head on to the Nation Ford defense and the striking power of Kaitlyn Walker Friday night.

The Bengals were shut out, while Walker connected with the back of the net three times in the Falcons 4-0 victory over Blythewood at District Two Stadium.

“We knew coming in that there would be a couple that would give us trouble (Walker and Emily Morris),” Blythewood head coach Kathy Knight said. “All in all we just didn’t play our best soccer for the night.”

Blythewood (14-3) graduates four seniors, Lauren Hendry, Meredith Stone, Macy Moran, and Maya Moran.

“We’ve got a lot of returners coming back,” Knight said. “We’re gonna miss our seniors, but I’m proud of them and I’m proud of the season that we’ve had.”

Nation Ford (15-6) fell at J.L. Mann Monday in the upper state championship game. The Patriots play lower state champion Wando Friday at Irmo High school for the state title.

Blythewood and Nation Ford battled to a stalemate for much of the first half. Meredith Stone had a scoring opportunity on a penalty kick about 13 minutes into play, but her kick went high.

Among other Bengals opportunities, Megan Tarnawski took a shot 23 minutes into the game that also went over the net.

Nine minutes later Walker struck for her first goal, breaking past two Blythewood defenders and firing a shot into the left corner of the net.

The Bengals could have tied the game with Emery Christensen’s penalty kick around the 2-minute mark of the first half, but Falcons goalkeeper Katelyn Carroll punched Christensen’s point-blank boot away from the net.

Those efforts Blythewood took in the first half could have yielded a goal, but Nation Ford kept the Bengals on their heels for much of that period.

“In the first half we weren’t stepping to the ball, kind of playing flat,” Knight said about her team’s first-half effort. “At halftime we talked about demanding the ball, moving the space, creating opportunities for ourselves. We just weren’t taking advantage of those.”

Blythewood did take a more concerted effort in defense and in attacking the goal in the second half, but so did Walker and Nation Ford. Ten minutes into the second half, Walker took a striking approach similar to her first goal, and came up with her second to make it 2-0 Falcons.

An Emily Morris goal at the 33-minute mark of the second half made it 3-0, and Walker nailed her third and final goal in extra time to close out the win.

“We did have a lot of opportunities,” Knight said. “But they’re an excellent team and keeper, and we just couldn’t finish it out there.”

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