OAK PARK HEIGHTS — The Stillwater girls’ soccer team suffered its fourth loss in a row on Thursday, but there were some encouraging signs in the second half as they focus on preparations for the section tournament.
The injury-plagued Ponies (2-5 SEC, 6-7) battled back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game in the second half, but were unable to overtake Woodbury in an eventual 4-2 Suburban East Conference loss at Pony Stadium. The Royals scored twice in the last eight minutes of the game to pull away.
“You never like to lose, but it showed we could fight back and we could battle back after being down by two goals,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said. “With all of our injuries, hopefully it proved to our girls that once the playoffs come — I’m sure we’re not going to be seeded very high — the girls can see that we can compete and have a chance to win it. In spite of the loss, we played good enough to win.”
Rachel Hewitt, who was involved with three of Woodbury’s four goals, scored midway through the first half to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. She also assisted on Dani Nelson’s goal in the 28th minute to build a two-goal cushion.
Stillwater battled back in the second half as Jaime Purdie scored on an assist by Ali Schilling in the 56th minute. Caroline Meier followed with the tying goal seven minutes later on a pass from Rachel Glenna.
The Ponies held a 12-3 advantage in shots in the second half and outshot Woodbury 16-9 in the game.
“We had a lot of great opportunities,” Huber said. “We hit the post once and had two breakaways that we missed. The second half we really kind of dominated.”
Woodbury changed the momentum to its side when Madison Gaffney scored in the 72nd minute on an assist by Hewitt. Kim Taplin added an insurance goal five minutes later for a 4-2 lead.
“Once they got that third goal you could tell that had the momentum,” Huber said. “We fought so hard to come back and it really took the wind out of our sails.”
Woodbury 2 2 — 4
Stillwater 0 2 — 2
Wo — 23:00 — Rachel Hewitt (unassisted)
Wo — 28:00 — Dani Nelson (Hewitt)
St — 56:00 — Jaime Purdie (Ali Schilling)
St — 63:00 — Caroline Meier (Rachel Glenna)
Wo — 72:00 — Madison Gaffney (Hewitt)
Wo — 77:00 — Kim Taplin (unassisted)
Shots on goal — Wo: 9; St: 16.
Corner kicks — Wo: 6; St: 3.
Fouls — Wo: 8; St: 10.
Goalie saves — Wo: Meghan Konop 14; St: Christina Bartingale 5.