Sports Roundup -- Girls soccer scores a playoff berth

The Bainbridge varsity girls soccer team rode a late season surge to make it to the playoffs.

After tying Bishop Blanchet 0-0 on Oct. 18, the Spartans upset Eastside Catholic 1-0 on Tuesday to clinch a playoff spot, but lost to Lakeside 1-0 on Thursday in the regular season finale and Senior Night.

Head coach Mark Grindrod was as happy as a coach can be after a loss.

“It was intense, but it was a good game,” he said. “If I felt sorry about one thing, it was that I didn’t get some players some more playing time, but the team was working hard and working for each other.”

Both sides had equal opportunities in the first half. Allie Picha had two solid shots, but both went wide.

Lakeside used excellent passing to get their scorers shots, but Lauren Whatley was marked well by Ashley Waplinger and Elena Brandford was turned away.

Bainbridge’s biggest opportunity came when Lucy Donahue made a great pass to Picha, but she couldn’t put it in. Emily Peters tried for the putback but was denied as well.

In the 35th minute, a foul was called on Bainbridge. Whatley took the free kick from 25 yards out and got it by goalie Jackie Danzig as it went over her head, hit the crossbar and bounced in.

“That’s the only score, on a fluke free kick,” Danzig said.

“That foul could have gone either way,” Picha said. “(But) you knew Whatley was going to put that in. Whatley is one of the best players in the state. That was just an impossible ball to save.”

In the second half, the Spartans turned up the intensity and kept pushing the ball into Lion territory. Maureen Callahan, Kelsey Devereaux, Waplinger and Alex Mynatt all had shots, but were turned away.

“They played hard but they just didn’t finish,” said Grindrod. “They didn’t pressure the goal enough for good shots. It’s amazing, because we’ve been putting (in) some good shots in practice. We’re just hammering that goal. In warmups we hammer the goal. I see some of those shots, I’m just in awe. We’re just not getting them off.”

He did have praise for his goalies, Danzig and Callie Tift and his defense, consisting of Lindsey Montoya, Lizzie Seligmann, Alana MacWhorter and Waplinger, who was on Lakeside’s playmaker like glue.

“Their focal point was number 7 (midfielder Ai-Li Chiong),” Grindrod said. “The reason Ashley was getting the ball so much is she was winning them (the balls) and just doing it. She had her so frustrated. She should have had so many more fouls called on her, but they didn’t call it because she was winning the advantage.”

On Tuesday, Picha scored the only goal as her shot went in off two defenders in the 38th minute. Danzig and Tift combined for the shutout against the Braves.

The Spartans will meet up with Lakeside again this Monday at the Southwest Athletic Complex in a loser out Metro League tournament game, and they will be ready.

“We outplayed them, we outshot them, we outdid them in everything (today),” Picha said.

“This was just a warmup,” Danzig said. “They’re not gonna know what hit them on Monday.”

“Our season isn’t over,” MacWhorter said. “It’s just beginning.”

Game time is at 5 p.m.

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