In less than a minute, Parkside hit the back of the net twice and the Stephen Decatur girls soccer team couldn’t recover.
Parkside’s Blair Vilov deposited a perfect penalty kick in the 16th minute after teammate Ava Walter was taken down in the box.
There wasn’t anything Decatur goalkeeper Lexi Gausepohl could do as the ball stroked the right side of the net for the first goal in the Rams 3-1 win.
“I just don’t think,” Vilov said. “You don’t think about it as much. I just know where I want to go and how to place it.”
Before the Seahawks could think, Parkside was stroking the back of the net again.
Just 56 seconds after the penalty kick, Mackenzie Rush doubled the Rams’ lead.
Rush had a breakaway and slid it just past a charging Gausepohl.
That goal was all about executing the game plan, Rams head coach Brandon Havas said.
“That PK was huge for us,” Havas said. “I have trouble watching. PKs just bother me, so when I knew that went in I eased up just a hair. We just took that moment when I think Decatur was pretty down on themselves and just took advantage of it.”
The forward used quick little passes to get Rush in behind the back line.
“The girls just got frantic after that PK, and Parkside capitalized on it,” Decatur head coach Maggie Berke said. “We weren’t able to get our footing back in or our heads in it back in time.”
However, a 2-0 lead is the worst type of lead for Havas.
It’s the kind of leads that are easiest to lose.
It was almost 3-0, but Gausepohl pulled off a huge one-on-one save with Vilov on a breakaway. The keeper just tapped the ball first as Vilov went to dribble it by her.
And it got worse for Parkside when Decatur’s Lexi VanKirk skirted a shot from a tight angle and the ball bounced off the post, off Rams’ goalkeeper Miyuki Schoyen and in the net with five minutes remaining in a half that Parkside mostly dominated.
The fact the Rams still pulled off the win, shows Havas the mental fortitude they have.
“I was proud of their effort,” Havas said. “It’s really easy to get down, Miyuki especially, on an own goal.”
With a whole half left to play, it got close, but those two goals were enough to give Parkside (7-2, 6-1) a 3-1 victory over the Seahawks (7-2, 5-2), propelling them into first place of the Bayside South.
The last goal was by Walter, who curled one off the post and into the net with four minutes remaining.
“As it was going into the post, I just knew it was in,” Vilov said. “I was just hoping, running already (to celebrate).”
The win puts Parkside in first place and a win away against James M. Bennett on Friday from appearing in the Bayside Championship game, which Decatur won last season.
“Bennett is must win, and we’re not at all thinking that it is an easier win than last time because last time was 3-1,” Havas said. “They have a good team, and they’ve shown up this season at the right time.”
For Decatur, it’s difficult knowing its chances of repeating as Bayside champs are slim.
Bennett (7-2, 5-2) would need to win defeat Parkside, creating a three-way, tie Berke said.
But all the Seahawks can focus on is Queen Anne’s, which is a must-win Wednesday. Oddly enough, the team they defeated to win the title last season.
“They kind of need to be able to motivate themselves,” Berke said. “We’re going to have a hard practice (Tuesday) because we have Queen Anne’s on Wednesday, and they have to be able to get back into it.”