By Chuck Reherman
Six minutes into the match when Myka Heimbach’s shot caromed off the left upright and straight to the goal keepers hands, it was a sign of things to come.
Only, it wasn’t the sign that Yukon was looking for.
The Millerettes saw opportunities turned away and Southmoore take advantage of theirs to pull off a 3-1 upset in the opening round of the class 6A state soccer playoffs, Wednesday night at Miller Stadium.
The match was played a day later than scheduled due to inclement weather and a 45-minute lightning delay eight minutes into the match (after game time was pushed up two hours) took some rhythm out of the contest.
Southmoore was able to gain their composure before the Millerettes, scoring a first half goal, then adding two midway in the second half to open a turned out to be an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
“As soon as we had those three or four chances early and they weren’t going in, I felt this could be a long day,” Millerette head coach Steve Scott said. “And, then we had the break due to the lightning and I thought is that going to break the momentum we have and it did break us up a little bit. But overall we had control that first part of the first half.
“They didn’t get in on us that much,” he said. “They had that one shot, which I think was more of a cross which is always tough. We talked to the girls about being resilient and how you bounce back. We challenged them in the second half to come out and take care of things and get after it.
“They responded and came out with a lot more fire and put Southmoore under pressure and created more chances. The opportunities that we got we just didn’t finish them.”
The Millerettes did open the match in attack mode and Heimbach took a long pass and had a chance to give YHS the lead in the first seven minutes. She sent her shot across the front of the net toward the left post. The ball hit the post and caromed off right to Southmoore keeper Olivia Riggs.
Once play resumed after the 45 minute lightning delay, Jade Langoc had a pair of chances, one on a breakaway that Riggs came out and deflected away.
The Millerettes had three more chances that were either deflected or saved by Riggs.
Southmoore took the lead in the 31st minute when Aubrey Kowardy sent what looked like a crossing pass across the front of net that curved in for the goal.
“After Myka’s shot went off the post, we felt that we can continue to get those opportunities,” Scott said. “We did get those chances, we didn’t get the bounces to go our way.
“We just didn’t finish they was we needed to,” he added. “Southmoore did try to slow down Myka, but she continued to do what she does. The opportunities were there, the sum of it is we weren’t efficient enough with our passing to create those opportunities for Myka and the other girls that played out wide.
“When we played the ball diagonal, we knew we would be able to get inside and completed those passes, we just didn’t hit the gap enough or hit the wrong spot. When we hit that gap, we had all sorts of opportunities, we just didn’t hit the gap enough.”
Southmoore scored in the 53rd minute on a corner kick and added a third goal three minutes later again off a corner kick.
Down three goals, the Millerettes did mount a comeback. On a free kick. Heimbach outleaped two Southmoore defenders for the ball and headed it into the net in the 60th minute.
The Millerettes did make a run and had chances, but two more shots were turned away. YHS’ last solid chance came with four minutes remaining.
“When Myka scored we felt we had a chance to come back,” Scott said. “We changed our attack and went to four forwards and created a 1v1 everywhere on the field. We started controlling the game and put a lot of pressure on them.
“If we would have gotten one more, we would have made it a one goal game and that would have really put the pressure on them” he said. And you don’t know what could have happened.”