MOSCOW — The Moscow Bears maintained a tenuous lead for most of regulation in a nonleague girls’ soccer game Saturday against visiting Clarkston at the Moscow Community Playfields, but Luella Skinner produced a goal with seven minutes remaining as the Bantams were able to come away with a 1-1 tie.
Several go-ahead shots were blocked or narrowly bounced out in the remaining minutes — the Bears finished with six attempts missed off the crossbar, and the Bantams with four. Moscow’s Audrey Bales and Clarkston’s Emma Grubb were battling for possession toward the Bears’ end of the field when the final whistle sounded.
As the host coach, Josh Davis had discretion about whether or not a tiebreaking overtime period or shootout would be played. He opted against it, accepting the draw.
“Part of it was just our legs,” Davis said. “Three games this week in six days is extremely taxing for the girls. We’ve been doing our best to do recovery sessions with that. Trying to add another 20 minutes at the end of this game, I think, would have been a bad idea. I think we would have potentially had an injury, and only having 15 kids, that’s not something we can take on.”
The Moscow (3-3-2) goal came 30 minutes into the first half courtesy of Serena Straum, who was assisted by Ava Jakick-Kunze. Straum credited her decision to “touch around” Clarkston goalkeeper Erika Pickett at close range instead of trying to shoot through her as a key to success.
Clarkston (1-3-1) was on the defensive for much of the next 30 minutes, but dug in and gradually found momentum of its own. A pair of Bantam shots bounced off the crossbar and were caught by Moscow goalie Chloe Baker respectively moments before Skinner finally found the net.
“All I did was finish it,” Skinner said. “My teammates built it up. Joanna (Schnatterly) and Emerson (Snyder) dropped it back to me off their amazing runs, and I just was able to finish it off.”
Clarkston coach Ryan Newhouse took heart from his team’s persistence.
“We’re obviously working on some things right now,” he said. “One of them is playing for 80 minutes — playing hard and lunging for balls and winning 50/50s. We’re a young team, and sometimes it’s tough to get your body to do that. We changed the momentum because we put the screws down, put a lot of pressure on them, and we started winning 50/50 (balls).
“We feel like we could’ve got the win, but I’m also really proud of them for finishing strong and putting themselves in a position to win the game. We’re getting better; that’s the only thing I care about.”
Davis echoed some of Newhouse’s observations.
“Hats off to Clarkston,” he said. “I think Clarkston did a phenomenal job with their effort and their intensity throughout the game — which, to be perfectly honest, we just didn’t match.”
Davis had a different kind of positive takeaway for Moscow.
“From the statistics I have, I think we’ve now tied the most goals scored in a season for Moscow High School dating back to 2010,” he said. The Bears’ season goal total received a large boost earlier in the week from a 9-0 win against Lewiston.
Moscow 1 0—1
Clarkston 0 0—1
Moscow — Serena Straum (Ava Jakich-Kunze), 30th
Clarkston — Luella Skinner, 74th
Shots — Moscow 12, Clarkston 10
Saves — Moscow: Chloe Baker 3, Clarkston: Ericka Pickett 5