HERMON — Ellsworth High School girls soccer coach Jen Myers always harps on her players following up shots in case there’s a rebound.
“No matter what. Even if the goalie is going to get the ball. You always want to go forward because you never know,” said Eagle junior sweeper Taylor White, who heeded her coach’s advice and tucked home a rebound with 9:52 remaining to break a 1-1 tie and give her team an entertaining come-from-behind 2-1 win over Hermon Thursday night.
Ellsworth is now 3-0 while Hermon fell to 2-1.
Junior midfielder Annika Firestone had answered a first-half goal by Hermon’s Nicole Turmel with 16:16 remaining in regulation and then set up the game-winner with a powerful free kick.
Firestone’s low free kick from 24 yards out took one hop on the wet field and glanced off the hands and body of senior goalie Mikayla Treadwell, who dove to her left.
“I was aiming for the far post. That’s what coach Myers wants me to do,” said Firestone.
The unmarked White deposited it into the net.
“I just ran to the ball and it went in off me. I don’t think I even kicked it,” said White, whose goal was her first of the year.
Firestone’s well-deserved goal, her third of the season, came on a shot from 24 yards out off a pass from Heather Holt.
“I called for it and the pass was perfect,” said Firestone, who ran on to it and sliced it into the far corner past the helpless Treadwell. “I like to hit it when the ball is rolling. My balls curve a lot.”
Firestone’s goal was Ellsworth’s sixth shot at goal in the second half and Hermon, which had dominated play in the first half and served several promising crosses, hadn’t had one as yet.
The speedy Hawks came to life after the Eagle goals and had several glittering chances to equalize.
The Eagles were able to block a few shots during a wild flurry in their penalty area.
Moments later, Turmel raced to the net front only to have the bouncing ball glance off her foot just wide of the exposed net from six yards out and then Ellsworth goalie Jessica Toothaker dove to her right to get her arm on Savannah Allain’s low shot off a pass from Kaitlin Saulter.
“I stuck my hand out and it skimmed off my hand,” said Toothaker.
In the waning seconds, Amanda Allen curled a 26-yard free kick just wide of the near corner.
“It was an inch away from the post,” said a relieved Toothaker.
Turmel supplied Hermon with a well-earned lead with 13:50 left in the first half when she got her foot on a Jessica Allen shot from outside the area and re-directed it into the short-side corner. It was her third goal of the season.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Hermon coach Adam Leach. “We controlled the ball in the first half and did everything right. But you’ve got to give Ellsworth credit. They adjusted and took us off our game in the second half. We anticipated in the first half but, in the second half, we reacted (instead of anticipating). We let Ellsworth play their game.”
“I thought we handled them as well as we could. They have some great skilled players,” said Myers who credited sophomore Kaiti Kinney for her persistence in marking the dynamic Saulter, who was a constant threat.
Turmel, midfielder Mollie Roy and stopper Maddie Page turned in solid performances for Hermon, according to Leach.
Toothaker finished with four saves on 15 shots while Treadwell wound up with four on 13 shots.