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Troy Athens and Utica Ford play to 1-1 tie in girls soccer

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Soccer - Girls - 4/3/2014 

Troy Athens 1
Utica Ford 1

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TROY On some nights a tie can feel like a loss for a soccer team.

Utica Ford coach Teri Steinwascher felt that way on Thursday night after her Falcons carried the play at host Troy Athens for most of the match, but still needed a late goal by Bella Sortzi to salvage a 1-1 non-league tie.

"I don't know if we controlled the game, but we had portions where we controlled for a good length of time," Steinwascher said. "I feel like this is a loss because we should have won. We had more quality chances to score."

A big reason for Ford's struggles offensively was the play of Red Hawks' netminder Amanda Harris, who made 15 saves in the match, including 10 in the first half, keeping the game scoreless at intermission.

"She's a good goalkeeper," Troy Athens coach Todd Heugh said. "She's tall and athletic and she's still learning, too. She needs to have more command of her box and her back line. She needs to communicate more. She doesn't give up too many rebounds, she's brave and comes off her line really well. She can make game-saving stops, which is good while we're still learning."

Ford dominated play in the opening half, booting 10 shots on goal, while Falcon keeper Megan Bogg only made one save.

"We're not putting balls in the back of the net," Steinwascher said. "If we score on that open net (late in the first half) we would've changed the momentum of the game and would've had more momentum going forward. But, we didn't. We're still learning."

Troy Athens took a 1-0 lead with 29:35 left in the second half when Kendall Wachowski sent a pass to Alyssa Cowper, who turned and scored just inside the post from 12 yards out.

"I thought Kendall fought really hard to keep the ball alive in the first place and Alyssa used her body really well," Heugh said. "She's scored some goals for us the past couple of years. She got a turn on her defender and found the far post lower corner, which is good."

Ford continued applying pressure looking for the equalizer, and its hard work paid off with 4:54 left when Molly Vanderhoff received a pass, streaked down the sideline, before turning in toward the goal, sending a crossing pass across the goal mouth to Sortzi, who was standing near the goal line, tapping the ball into the net.

"The neat thing was we got scored on and we didn't show any defeat," Steinwascher said. "They picked themselves back up and went right back at Athens. I like that. A lot of character showed in them. As hard as I am on them, they're fantastic kids and I expect a lot out of them."

Bogg made five saves in the match for Ford, which heads into spring break with a 2-1-1 record overall. Steinwascher said there's a lot to like about this year's team.

"I think their training intensity is phenomenal," Steinwascher said. "Their effort on the field, heart, spirit and bonding as a team has been great. I've never had a team like this and I like it."

The tie left the Red Hawks' record at 1-1-2 overall. Heugh said his team made positive strides as the game went on, which made him happy.

"I think we found more of a rhythm near the end of the first half," Heugh said. "We found even more in the second half. Ford looked a little more dangerous than we did going forward. We were a little short-handed tonight and we still created scoring chances going to goal. I was proud of our effort."

Last Updated: 4/3/2014 11:43:36 PM EST

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