The shot was pretty much like one of those pregame warm-ups every player gets to take.
Pass to a coach, heel tap, one-time a blast.
Only, Leon forward Lindsi Allman got what she’d been practicing less than four minutes into Tuesday night’s home game against Chiles.
Allman’s explosive shot from just off right center inside the penalty box went past diving Timberwolves goalie Izzy Dewell and into the upper left netting, kick-starting an important 2-0 district win for the Lions.
“We’ve actually been working on that for the last couple days, trying to play the seams,” said Leon coach Tony Kidd, whose midfielder Grace Dobbs was credited with the assist for her through ball. “It didn’t work until that play, which is lucky. And Lindsi just stayed after it, which is a big deal, and she’s pretty tenacious. That was a good goal for us to jump out like that.”
For Leon (6-3-3, 2-3-1 District 2-4A) to record an early goal and be able to put numbers behind the ball became important after Chiles (4-5-2, 2-1-2) kept coming with shot after shot. Actually, it became the Lions’ main challenge to keep Timberwolves forward Caylah Teague from wrecking their night.
“Anytime we can jump up on them is huge,” Kidd said. “Their transition is so fast compared to ours. If we can eliminate mistakes against them, we usually can play pretty well.”
The Timberwolves had won three games in a row entering the match and they fired off 15 shots with nine on frame but couldn’t squeak anything past Leon goalies Jessica Beyer (five saves) and Sierra Robinson (three saves).
Teague fired four shots on goal in the first half, but Beyer was there. Teague ripped five more shots in the second half, trying to find an equalizer, but Robinson, as well as Leon center back Maddy Keenan, kept her on lockdown.
“The kids effort was really good,” Chiles coach Stan Goldstein said. “Second half, they stepped it up really well. It was just one of those nights.”
Chiles took four corners but couldn’t connect, while Leon’s only corner resulted in its second goal with just 15 minutes left in the game.
Dobbs launched her pass into the middle of the box and Beyer, who moved to forward at half, slid and one-timed home a rocket.
“It was probably one of the most important games we’ve played so far,” said Beyer, a senior. “We haven’t beaten Chiles since my freshman year and it was our second game. It’s been over three years. We really needed a win. It was vital.”
“The effort was there, the heart was there, we just couldn’t connect,” Goldstein said. “It’s very frustrating. We had our chances, but it wasn’t meant to be tonight.”