Going down a list of positive accomplishments, Columbus East girls soccer coach Ilya Schwartzman praised his squad after a 1-1 tie against visiting Bloomington South on Monday at the Wigh Soccer Complex.
He also made sure his Olympians knew they have a lot of work to do.
“From our standpoint, we had a lot of good things happen from nice passing to really good defense,” said Schwartzman. “We still need to figure out our strengths and learn how to trust each other.”
Following a scoreless first half, Elisa Watkins finally put the Olympians on the scoreboard at the 47:32 mark after booming in an unassisted goal well outside the box.
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The senior was left unguarded with the ball from about 25 yards out and blasted in a shot that dropped in over the outstretched arms of the Panthers’ goalkeeper Brynne Newland.
“Elisa recognized the situation, saw the keeper was playing too far up, and took advantage of it,” said Schwartzman. “She’s a strong player and a key player for us.”
Unfortunately for East fans, the lead lasted only a few minutes as Bloomington South stepped up its offensive attack and knotted the game at the 50:33 mark.
The O’s turned away a pair of shots moments after their score, but a third shot attempt deflected off a cluster of players, ringing up a goal for Emily Byrd.
The contest featured an evening of solid defense, including in-your-face pressure from the East trio of Mila Lipkinski, Morgan Martindale and Ella Rohlfs. The Olympians also got strong play from senior keeper Bryn Eudy, who finished with three saves, including Eudy prevailing in a one-on-one showdown with South’s Audrey Cadag less than two minutes into the second half.
“Bryn played a great game,” added Schwartzman. “She’s a true leader.”
With time melting away, the Olympians managed to record several more shots on-goal, but failed to find the target. The hosts almost came away with the win in the final minute when the ball got behind the Panthers’ defense and into the possession of East’s Sarah Park.
The freshman’s line-drive attempt was stopped and then dropped by Newland before being controlled again and cleared.
“There were opportunities to be had out there,” said Schwartzman. “This was definitely a positive.”