Stacie Skinker helped give Holt an early advantage in the CAAC Blue.
Skinker scored a goal early in the first half and the Rams made that stand in a 1-0 girls soccer victory over perennial league power Okemos on Thursday.
“We’ve been building toward this win,” Holt coach Aaron Smith said. “This biggest thing for us was overcoming that mental hump. Okemos hasn’t lost in the league in eight or nine years, so this is big for us.”
“Holt had us on our heels right off the bat, and they scored a goal early,” Okemos coach Brian Guggemos said. “This isn’t a game that they stole from us, they really earned it.”
The Rams offense started attacking the net aggressively early in the first half, led by several shots by Skinker that hit the goal posts.
With 26 minutes to play in the half, Skinker dribbled the ball down on a breakaway and scored the only goal of the game.
“I knew that goal was coming,” Skinker said. “I wasn’t going to stop until I got it, and my teammates really encouraged me to keep shooting until it happened.”
Smith viewed Skinker as the biggest contributor to Thursday’s win.
“She hit the post a bunch of times and then she finally made a goal,” Smith said. “But really, the whole team showed up.”
Okemos struggled offensively throughout the first half, but had several strong shots on goal in the second half by Kristelle Yewah. The Chiefs’ closest attempt to tie the game came off of a corner kick in the final seconds, but time ran out.
“In the second half it was about getting into better defensive shape because at the beginning of the game, our defensive pressure was poor,” Guggemos said.
“We didn’t change anything drastically, it was just about being more aware after that goal.”
Smith credited a couple of great saves by Emily Harkness for helping his team win a back and forth game.
“We’re in first in the league right now, but we have three games left and every game is close,” Smith said. “We want to keep the momentum going, and use this as a stepping stone.
We hope to meet Okemos twice more– in the Cup, and then hopefully in the district.”