Special to the Recorder
The Ponte Vedra girls’ soccer team shocked Bartram Trail on Friday night’s Senior Night match-up, posting a gritty 2-0 shutout victory over the favored Bears. Bartram, leading their class 4A district with a 5-0-1 record and an overall record of 11-2-2, came into the Shark tank as heavy favorites against the 7-4-6 Ponte Vedra team that had lost three straight games.
The Sharks needed to be at their best to pull off the upset but they also needed a bit of luck as well. As it turned out, luck came into to play on both Sharks’ goals.
Neither team was able to score for the first 20 minutes, although the Bears had the best scoring opportunity on a shot that caromed off the left post two minutes in.
Bartram controlled the play for the better part of the first 40 minutes, with most of the action taking place in the Shark end of the pitch. But at the 19-minute mark, Ponte Vedra’s Kia Hayes gained control of the ball just past the mid-field line and launched a booming shot at the Bartram goal. The Bear goal keeper got in front of the hard shot but failed to control it. When the ball fell to the ground, Caroline Lesher was in perfect position to drive it into an open net to put the Sharks up 1-0.
The second half started much like the first with Bartram in control of the ball at mid-field but unable to penetrate the tenacious Shark defense for any serious shots on goal. Ponte Vedra appeared to benefit from the momentum of their go-ahead goal and played more aggressively overall. When the Bears failed to take advantage of a Shark yellow card infraction midway through the second half, the underdog Sharks seemed even more inspired and determined.
By now they were playing like they could actually win the match and the Bears found themselves back on their heels. With nine minutes left to play, the Sharks’ Rachel Newcombe picked up a pass some 30 yards from the Bartram goal and sent a hard shot toward the left post. The Bear keeper moved to make the save but – as on the first Ponte Vedra goal – she misplayed it and saw the ball skip past her into the cage. The result: a well-earned 2-0 win for the Sharks on Senior Night.
Prior to the game, the seven senior Sharks – Layla Adamo, Angie DeVincentis, Sophie Lesher, Fallon Farrell, Julia Worman, Devon Stepp and Zie Frecks and their parents – received flowers in honor of the occasion.