By Tori Wittenbrock
Southwest (5-1-1 overall, 2-0 FRCC) scored a goal in each half to come away with a 2-0 victory.
Southwest Head Coach Jay Draves said he was proud of his team’s effort.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game with Pulaski,” he said. “They’re a quality team. We were trying to see if we could get that first goal to dictate what was going on the rest of the night. That was our main goal – to play from the front.”
Pulaski (3-3, 0-2) started strong, continually testing the Trojans’ defense.
Eventually, Southwest’s Aubrie Selsmeyer had a breakaway down the sideline that allowed opportunities to attack.
However, in the 16th minute, Selsmeyer fouled her opponent from behind, giving the Red Raiders a free kick around the half-line.
The Southwest offense began to put pressure on Pulaski’s defensive line, which earned it a corner kick in the 13th minute.
A shot from Southwest deflected off of a Pulaski defender’s cleat, spiraling out of bounds for another corner kick in the 14th minute.
However, the Pulaski midfield was able to regain possession and strung together a series of passes to advance the ball upfield.
In the 20th minute, the Trojans earned themselves a free kick just outside the penalty box, which Virginia Harris shot over the crossbar.
Another free kick for Southwest at the half-line inside the 23rd minute allowed for a quick counterattack, which resulted in a corner kick attempt for the Red Raiders.
Pulaski’s Brianna Kapla made a run around the backside of the Trojans’ defensive line and received a ball from her teammate in a scoring position, but the play ended when the referee called her offsides.
In the 38th minute, Southwest put away a goal to give it the lead going into the second half.
A blocked shot was followed up by Autumn Nolle, as she sent the ball off the crossbar and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
“We started a little slow, but at the end, we had good communication and a lot of good balls,” Nolle said. “You’ve got to communicate with each other to succeed, and that’s what happened.”
Three minutes into the second half, it was clear Pulaski was itching to even the score.
Its level of intensity raised the overall aggression of the game for the remainder of the second half.
However, in the 50th minute, the Trojans pulled farther ahead when Selsmeyer sent a ball across the face of the Pulaski net for an assist to Ella Siegle, who scored the final goal of the night on a volley.
“The pushing up and the pressing helped with the goals,” Nolle said. “The crosses Aubrie had both resulted in goals because there was someone there. It’s that communication of saying ‘back post’ where we succeeded.”
Southwest made another goal attempt later in the game, but Nolle was called offsides on the ball she received from Siegle.
As both teams tired, the focus of the game shifted from passing and building through the midfield to sending longballs.
Pulaski had another free kick in the 59th minute saved by Southwest goalie Mallory Kerhin.
“There’s room to improve, especially going against a good leadership, experienced and a veteran team like Southwest,” Pulaski Head Coach Kelly Logue said. “I was proud of how the girls stayed with it to the end. They had tenacity and grit and kept fighting. There were a lot of good connections. There’s room to improve on our touches, but I’m proud of the girls. Props to Southwest – they’re a great team.”