Hail Mary shot allows Streaks 1-1 tie with Pirates
By Jim Horvath
In American football, a long pass play is called a bomb. If that bomb comes at the end of the game and even comes close to scoring a touchdown, it’s called a Hail Mary pass.
Thursday night at Rocky River, the soccer version of the Hail Mary pass came via the foot of Magnificat’s Natalie Guido.
The senior midfielder’s long-distance goal off a free kick tied the score at 1-1 early in the second half. It proved to be the final score of the game as the two neighborhood rivals had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
“That was at least a 40-yard free kick, maybe more,” said first-year Magnificat head coach John Fenix of Guido’s monster kick. “That’s Natalie, and she has a great shot.
“And their girl who threw that ball for their goal does very good long throw ins. I think that one was, all in all, almost a 40 yard throw,” he said.
Guido placed the ball on the turf and ripped a free kick from nearly 50 yards out. The high, arching ball sailed over everybody and headed toward the River goal. It glanced off the outstretched hands of Pirate keeper Kim Leitch and fell into the net with 34:33 remaining in the second half.
“That’s something we work on and it’s something we need to be ready for,” said River head coach Patrick Hopkins, who was tending to sophomore forward Grace Bennett on the bench when the tying goal scored.
"I turned just in time to see the ball go into the net,” he said. “Kim got her hand on it and didn’t make the save, but I know she’ll make it the next time.”
From that point on, the Blue Streaks were seemingly on the attack more often than not. The River defense was up to the task, but the offense couldn’t mount a consistent attack, especially with Bennett on the bench.
“Grace didn’t make it out of the second half,” Hopkins said. “She was fatigued. We got away from our style of play and started played a very fast paced game. Instead of using all of our weapons, we kept getting the ball long to her, and we basically exhausted her.
“She had some issues breathing at halftime, but she’ll be alright,” he added.
As eluded to by Fenix, the Pirates scored on a long play of their own early on in the fourth minute as McKenna Klodnick’s long throw in found teammate Hallie McCue on the back side. The junior tapped it in to give her team a 1-0 lead, which stood at halftime.
Other than the two long plays, both teams had opportunities to score throughout the game. The Pirates had a chance to win it in the 38th minute, but their close range shot in the crease sailed high.
“I think both sides were very evenly matched,” said Fenix, whose team moved to 1-1-0 on the young season.
“They’re a solid side, and obviously with the likes of Sarah Molina in midfield they’re very formidable. We had to watch out for her, but I think overall we got the better of the possession and territorial advantage.
“We probably should have had a goal in the first half because we had a lot of possessions in the attacking third,” he said. “But all credit to Rocky River. They’re very organized defensively.”
“This game lays a foundation from which we’ll build,” Fenix said.