by Tom Utescher
From the perspective of Agnes Irwin soccer fans, you might call it “the game so nice they played it twice.”

Springside supporters would refer to the recent back-to-back matches in harsher terms; their Lions lost to the Irwin Owls both home and away last Monday and Tuesday by identical 2-1 scores.

Bad weather had caused some postponements and injuries had hampered Springside during the first half of the 12-game Girls Inter-Ac League schedule, but the team had still emerged with a 3-3 record that included a split with defending champ Episcopal Academy.

Coming into last week at the .500 mark put the Lions in a relatively good position in a league where there’s no truly dominant team this fall, but the locals did themselves a disservice with the twin losses to Irwin, which was just 1-4-1 in the Inter-Ac beforehand.

“We’re just not playing well right now, and I can’t explain it,” said Springside coach Jerry Hartey. “There’s not a lot of enthusiasm out there and it’s a shame, because we’re pretty healthy for the first time this season.”

The team was still not at full capacity for the two Irwin games, though. High-scoring junior Kelsey Chapman was away on Monday, and on Tuesday the squad played without senior Riley Tarver.

Early in Monday’s game Springside junior Jamie McGinn rushed across the Irwin 18-yard-line in pursuit of a through pass, but the ball was hit just a little too hard and Owls’ keeper Liz Brehman scooped it up. At the other end, senior goalie Brenna Coll (16 saves) was kept busy diving on balls served into the box, and Irwin also hit a number of outside shots that were near misses, one of them striking the crossbar.

The visitors finally scored seven minutes into the second half, when a long boot by Taylor Lord went in at the left post. Just after that a Springside corner kick failed to produce a shot, but in the next minute Tarver carried the ball into the right outside corner of the box, drew the goalie, and put a chip shot in the net to tie the game.

From just inside the 18, the Owls’ Sammi Lucas fired a ball that glanced off the left post and into the Springside goal, putting Irwin ahead with 8:41 left to play. Not long after that Lucas left the field with a red card, but even playing 11-on-10 for the final six minutes, Springside couldn’t tie the match a second time.

Irwin duplicated the 2-1 victory the follow day on its home field, where once again Springside matched the Owls’ first goal but not their second. The hosts held a 1-0 lead at the half thanks to Findlay Flasinski, but with under 15 minutes left in the game Chapman leveled the score for Springside, breaking down the field and shooting the ball over Brehman when the Irwin keeper moved towards her.

Irwin was still able to pull out the victory, with Flasinski chalking up her second goal of the day with seven minutes remaining.

UPDATE: Springside played with more verve at Penn Charter last Friday, when two goals by Chapman and one by senior Haley Lombardo powered the Lions to a 3-1 win over the host Quakers.

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