After dodging a couple of scoring chances late in the first half, Napoleon scored a pair of second-half goals and defeated Maumee 2-0 in Northern Lakes League girls soccer action Wednesday at Buckenmeyer Stadium.
The Lady Cats controlled most of the first half, but the Lady Panthers came alive in the final five minutes before intermission. Maumee took four shots on goal in those final minutes, including two shots that hit the crossbar and had to be cleared by Napoleon defenders.
“I have been a Notre Dame (football) fan my whole life and I think some of that Lou Holtz luck was in play there,” said Napoleon girls soccer coach Mike Murphy. “I think there was some divine intervention in play.”
The Lady Cats did not waste time taking advantage of their good fortune, as freshman Sophie Chipps found herself behind the Maumee defense and got off a clean shot from 15 yards away and buried it to the back of the net.
“At halftime, we talked about that we were communicating well, but it could be better,” said Murphy. “The captains talked about getting more through balls and that was a perfect example of that.”
Grace Hopkins, who faced 12 shots on goal, made her best save with 14:46 remaining in the second half, scooping up a shot from 12 yards out.
“I thought our defense really played well tonight,” said Murphy. “After Emma Dirr went out with an injury we had girls regroup and fill in for her.”
Senior Abby Naas sealed the win, scoring on a free kick from 40 yards out. Her shot sailed over the outstretched arms of the Maumee keeper.
“That goal by Abby really took the wind out of their sails,” said Murphy. “That was an unbelievable shot. It was reminiscent of the goal she had against Bryan in the tournament last season.”
Napoleon finished the game with 15 shots on goal.
“We still are a young team,” said Murphy. “We have a lot of new players and it is a matter of timing. The timing between the girls is starting to come together. Each game it gets a little bit better.”
Napoleon is now 3-3-1 overall and 2-1 in the NLL. It is only the second time the Lady Cats have won two conference games since joining the NLL. They are back in action Wednesday at Springfield.