Time stands still for no man—except possibly a certain soccer referee.
The Dryden Eagles’ girls’ soccer team was the beneficiary of almost 10 minutes of extra time that likely should not have been allotted—scoring a penalty kick in what was deemed the final minute of play in the second half to earn a 4-4 tie against the Muskies there last Wednesday.
With the tie, Dryden (2-1-1) remained right on the heels of the first-place Muskies (3-0-1), with the possibility still existing that the Eagles could pass Fort High and grab the bye to the NorWOSSA final here next Wednesday (May 27).
NorWOSSA games consist of two 40-minute halves, with time added to the end of each one which is supposed to match the length of any delays in play due to injury.
But Muskie coach Sarah Faragher watched incredulously as, with a 4-3 lead, her team was forced to keep playing well beyond the point she believed they should have.
“There were some discrepancies in the length of the match,” said a frustrated Faragher, choosing her words carefully to describe how her team had its two-game winning streak ended.
“According to my running time stopwatch, the second half lasted almost 10 minutes longer than it should have—and I even started my watch a minute or two late,” she noted.
But Faragher’s repeated protests were ignored by the referee, who stood by his opinion that the second half had not run overly long.
The Muskies eventually got whistled for a hand ball violation in their own 18-yard box, leading to the tying goal.
“I’m going to talk to our athletic director and see what channels there are to appeal,” Faragher vowed.
“I’m communicating my concerns forward because it did affect the result of the game.
“It wasn’t a subjective call,” she added. “It’s a hard one to swallow and it seems pretty black-and-white to me.”
Faragher still put some responsibility at the feet of her own players.
“We tell them all the time to be mentally tough,” she remarked.
“We should not have let that [last] goal happen but we did.”
Claire Hyatt netted her second and third goals of the season against Dryden—both coming on long-range blasts from beyond the 18-yard box that eluded the fingertips of the leaping Eagles’ keeper.
Sydney Radigan and Taylor Croswell each added their first of the campaign.
The controversial outcome will lend itself to some high drama today when the two teams meet again in Kenora, with a Muskie win or tie against the Eagles clinching first place.
“We want the bye,” vowed Faragher, whose team also will face the host Kenora Broncos today.
“We’ve got more motivation now. Dryden played good [last week], I give them credit,” she added. “They were hungry.
“But we’ve just got to want it more [this] week.”
Fort High then took out its anger on the overmatched Broncos (0-4) in their afternoon game last Wednesday to the tune of a 4-1 win.
Maggie Jean scored her first two goals of the season—and earned plenty of accolades from Faragher a week after having to get her jaw realigned when a ball ricocheted into her face during the previous week’s game against Dryden.
“Maggie had an outstanding game,” Faragher lauded.
“She was running that right side, taking them on 1-on-1, and getting all the way to the end line, and then even taking it up the end line,” she recalled.
Myla Angus had her second of the season while Jessica Baxter tied Hyatt for the team lead with her third.
“Jess has been a real firecracker up front for us this year,” noted Faragher.
She also was pleased with the development of her youthful backfield of Grade 9 players in Avery Wilson-Hands, Annalise Hayes, Siobhan Mackintosh, and Abby Sanders.
“We had little mix-ups when Dryden overloaded with numbers on one side and the girls were wondering who they were supposed to take defensively,” Faragher admitted.
“But we’ve got Angel [McCormack] back there as our core to help the girls, and it’s just a matter of them getting experience and knowing who and when to cover.”
Elizabeth Allan started both games in goal last Wednesday—playing the first half against Dryden.
She then played the whole game against Kenora when Bryanna Dustin injured her knee slightly in the second half against the Eagles.
Muskie veteran midfielder Hailey Beaudry (concussion) was out of action last week.
But she was slated to return to practice sometime during the past week, and may be in position to return today or certainly for the NorWOSSA playoffs next Wednesday.
“It’s important for us to stay healthy with our low roster,” stressed Faragher.
“We played seven games over a nine-day stretch and that’s a lot of soccer, which makes it tough to recover,” she added.
“But it’s cool to see them improve with every match.”