It was the start of a new season coupled with a new home playing field for the Winder-Barrow High School Lady Bulldoggs soccer team Tuesday, Feb.4.
WBHS appeared headed for victory, taking a 2-0 second half lead before the visiting Oconee County Lady Warriors rallied for a tie with a pair of goals during a six-minute span late in the match.
“The girls have been working really hard and have bought into the new system,” said coach Christian Vasquez. “If they continue to work hard I know they will make improvements.”
WBHS (0-0-1) broke a scoreless halftime score with two goals within seven minutes of each other in the second half to seize control of the match.
Oconee County, led by former Apalachee High School Lady Wildcat coach Scott Bates, had several scoring chances in the first half but could not capitalize.
The Lady Bulldoggs broke the scoreless match with 25:01 remaining on a break-away goal by Alexis Thao.
Kylee Bennett and Leah Guven both had assists.
WBHS had a chance to increase its lead two minutes later but Rachel Howard’s attempt from 30 yards was just left of the goal. The advantage did move to 2-0 with 18:01 remaining on another goal by Thao.
The Lady Warriors scored their first goal of the 2020 regular season with 10:18 remaining in the contest, putting the pressure back on WBHS. The Lady Bulldoggs held off a potential tying score attempt with eight minutes remaining in the match but were not as fortunate on a successful attempt by the Lady Warriors with 4:41 left.
Oconee County (0-0-1) almost made it three consecutive goals in the final 10 minutes of the match but Payton Babb made another save with three minutes remaining in regulation.
The first half was scoreless but a good portion of the match saw Winder-Barrow mostly defending its half of the field.
Oconee County made the first three attempts on goal misfiring at 39:15, 38:40 and 33:38.
Babb had five saves in the first half and the Lady Bulldoggs also benefited from strong defensive play by Howard.
OCHS also had two misses in the 16-minute range in the opening 40 minutes..
WBHS almost had a surprise goal with 11:28 when Oconee’s goalkeeper misjudged a slow roller which bounced off the top of the net and almost bounced in.
The Lady Bulldoggs were also unable to cash in on an attempt with 7:35 remaining in the first half.
Rain began falling with approximately six minutes left in the match’s first half but was not a factor with the new field at W. Clair Harris Stadium. This is the first soccer season at WBHS with the new field turf installed last summer.
The Lady Doggs defeated Madison County 4-2 in a road scrimmage match on Friday, Jan. 31. WBHS will host Central Gwinnett Friday at 5:30 p.m.