Delta girls soccer coach John Kern thought he was going to have an easy second half. After all, Cassandra Lee’s third goal of the game with 36:56 to play put the Panthers in front 4-1.
However, Delta needed a goal by Maddie Mattimore with 4:03 left to stop an Ottawa Hills rally as the Panthers scored a 5-3 win against the visiting Green Bears in non-league action Saturday.
“I know we were up 3-1 but it was not pretty,” Kern said of the win. “We didn’t look great to get there, but fortunately we were up. It was nice going into the half with the lead.”
The day began great as Brooke Heisler found Lee for a redirected shot into the net with 30:09 left in the first half – Delta’s first shot on goal – for a 1-0 lead.
“Those are plays you work on,” mentioned Kern of the scoring play. “You hope they can see it in the game when you work on it in practice.”
That was matched at the 14:11 mark when Ottawa Hills broke free and scored on a 1-on-1 situation. Three minutes later, the Green Bears had another threat, but that was snuffed out when Courtney Riches raced back and took the ball away from the Ottawa Hills offense.
The Panthers made the game 3-1 in the final five minutes of the half. Lee’s second goal came when she corralled a high bouncing ball in front of the Ottawa Hills goal and sent the ball past the keeper.
Mattimore had an amazing shot to make the score 3-1. With time running out in the half, she crossed the top of the 18-yard box and sent a shot from the corner. The ball careened off the opposite post and ricocheted in for a 3-1 score.
After Lee made the score 4-1 in the second half, Ottawa Hills struck with 11:24 and 8:08 to go to trim the Delta lead to 4-3. Mattimore made it a two-goal game when she answered with four minutes left.
“Scared,” was the simple answer Kern gave of the Ottawa Hills rally. “They didn’t give up. You have to give them props for that. It was an easy day to do that because it’s hot.”
The Panthers outshot the Green Bears 12-9 in the game.
Delta, who snapped a four-game losing streak with the win, improved to 4-5-1 on the season. The Panthers play Tuesday at Genoa.