Williamsburg, Va. – Forward Lauren Gough scored her sixth goal of the WPSL season to lead the Tidewater Sharks to a 1-1 draw with Penn Legacy Inferno Sunday afternoon at Cooley Field. The Sharks remain unbeaten at home at 2-0-2 with the win on Saturday against division leading Maryland and the draw on Sunday with the second place Inferno.
Playing back to back in less than 24 hours, the Sharks players withstood the sweltering afternoon heat and came out with energy in an effort to take hold of the match.
“We knew that they were going to be fresh after not playing on Saturday and that we would be in trouble if we couldn’t strike first,” said player/coach Kellie Jenkins. “They are a very good team and we needed to establish ourselves and play with a bit of confidence which we did. Playing two games on the weekend is real difficult and fortunately we were able to fight through a few tough stretches to get a positive result today. It was a great weekend for our franchise and club overall as we have shown a commitment to women’s/girls soccer in Central Virginia and are excited about the future in WPSL and with our new youth club.”
After setting the tempo over the first twenty minutes, the Sharks were put on their heels by a determined Inferno squad that pushed forward and began to show signs of why they are in the top tier of the division.
“We knew we would go through periods of absorbing pressure and would have to be mentally tough as our fitness became an issue,” stated Sharks coach Kevin Darcy. “Fortunately we have a high character group of players and they battled through fatigue and a quality opponent this day to come away with a positive result and a great weekend overall. The weather was brutal and to play the 2 top teams in less than 24 hours and come away with a win and a tie tells a lot about our toughness.”
After absorbing pressure, the Sharks showed resolve as they won a ball and quickly counter attacked, getting the ball to Gough setting up the go-ahead goal in the 31st minute. The score held up through half until the Inferno lofted in a cross into the box in the 57th minute that bounced around and eventually was put away by Taylor Higgins knotting the score at 1-1.
Penn Legacy poured on the pressure after their goal only to be turned away by the Sharks settling for the 1-1 draw. The Sharks defense, led by goalkeeper Jesseca Thompson and backs Jodi Knorowski, Jordan Davis, Lauren Klaytor and Tiffany Lennon were solid throughout the match.
With the tie the Sharks move to 2-4-3 (9 points) and the Inferno holds on to 2nd place at 5-3-1 (16 points) in the WPSL Northeast Atlantic – South. The Sharks conclude their season next Saturday night at Cooley Field with a 7:30 kickoff against the BuxMont Torch.
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