The East Grand Forks (EGF) Green Wave pummeled Hillcrest Saturday afternoon in a top team match with the undefeated Comet soccer team defending their fourteen game win streak.
Hillcrest started the game slow. Poor passing deflated the offensive push Hillcrest usually creates after the opening kick. EGF smothered Hillcrest's strikers, leaving narrow passing lanes that were hard to penetrate. Hillcrest sought space on the outside, but was quickly shutdown on attacks as they reached the box. EGF defenders moved their feet quickly, deflecting passes redirecting Comets as they dribbled to penetrate the defense.
EGF held possession for a majority of the opening period. After halting Hillcrest's offensive, EGF sat at midfield, crossing passes in an effort to breakdown the rock solid Comet defense that has given up one goal in 14 contests. As the first half ended both teams walked to the sidelines in exhaustion with little to show for their work. EGF sailed 3 shots to the Comet net, blocked by Hillcrest's goalie. The Comets were only able to get off 2 shots that failed to find pay dirt.
Hillcrest emerged from half time with a skip in their step. After a few possession changes the Comets followed a charge led by Joey Coronado. An expert pass slipped by the Green Wave and found Eivind Fluge who directed the pass to the back of the net, putting the Comets up 1-0.
After a long 10 minutes of play, EGF led an offensive attack and found a penalty in the box on their strike. With the penalty kick awarded to the Green Wave, midfileder Edmond Jones placed the ball, took three steps back, and assessed the net. A quick strike, seemingly out of nowhere, caught Hillcrest's keeper off-guard, who watched the ball sail to the left side of the net.
Hillcrest failed to put together a strong offensive push as the game wore on. Failed passes and miscues on offense left EGF with a benefit in time of possession. Hillcrest hobbled along as regulation time expired. With the teams approaching the sideline at the end of regulation, there was disparity in the two team's coaches reactions.
EGF was playing the game of the life, Hillcrest was clearly not on par. Coach Rod Jensen sternly addressed his players, calling on a deeper effort by correcting their miscues. EGF was seen preparing a final strike, looking to knock-off the Comets in the regular season finale.
As the five minute overtime period started there was new life on the field. Hillcrest jumped at the opportunity to end the game on a good note. EGF fought to retain their momentum and enter playoffs with their heads held high.
Hillcrest Senior Captain, Danny Martinez from Pelican Rapids, found the ball on the right sideline. Dribbling past the tired EGF defenders, Martinez beat the back leg of the final Green Wave stopper. He placed a stiff center pass that failed to find a Comet offender. The ball bounced around in the box, hitting a series of EGF defenders' legs before deflecting into the goal past the keeper.
“The Storm got beat today in all aspects of the game, even though the end score does not reflect that,” commented Hillcrest coach, Rod Jensen. “Today’s experience comes at a good time, as we enter the playoffs next week. We will surely be a better team due to today’s encounter with the Green Wave!”
Hillcrest plays their first playoff game of 2015 on the Danielsen field Thursday at 4pm. The game is livestreamed on Hillcrest's livestream service at www.ffhillcrest.org/livestream.