Leesville Road girls soccer coach Paul Dinkenor has been the head girls soccer coach for nearly every season since the school opened in 1993, and he thought Monday’s game at Millbrook was one to remember – to an extent.
The Pride scored four unanswered goals to defeat the Wildcats 4-2 on Monday, which locks up second place in the Cap-8 Conference.
Dinkenor was proud. But at this time of year, with only one game left in the regular season, playing well is one half of the equation. The other half is to not linger on the previous game’s result.
“That’s probably the finest comeback we’ve had in 20-plus years of Leesville girls soccer,” Dinkenor said. “Key thing for us now is to wake up in the morning and just forget it. You can’t be carrying the momentum of one game into another.”
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Millbrook (13-2-3, 9-2-2) was up 2-0 just 13 minutes into the game. Makaya Parham scored both goals, in the fourth and 13th, with the latter coming on a corner kick assist from Hayley Flowers.
But Leesville (17-2-1, 11-2) looked like a different team the rest of the match.
“We made wholesale changes. The idea is, we have 22 people who can play,” Dinkenor said.
Meaghan Robinson curled in a goal off a short corner play started by Reagan Norvell in the 20th and Norvell’s corner kick in the 30th found the net in the 30th to tie the match. It was 2-2 at halftime.
“You get punished when you play good teams when you let them back in games. We started that game so well ... totally with the game plan, totally on message to start the game, but I think as soon as that second goal went in, we were the second-best team on the night,” Millbrook coach Matt Edwards said.
Leesville kept linking up well and it turned into two more goals – Malina Pardo finished a cross from Hannah Arostegui in the 63rd for the lead and Gower scored in the 74th on an assist from Brooke Sroka to seal the win.
“We had to have this one tonight and I thought we rose to the challenge,” Dinkenor said.
Wakefield clinched the Cap-8 title with a tie against Heritage, but Leesville will finish out the regular season with a chance to give the Wolverines their first loss of the year.
Millbrook plays rival Sanderson to close out the regular season.
“The message is to just find 80 minutes,” Edwards said. “We need to understand that we’re not vulnerable skill-wise, we’re not vulnerable (athletically), we’re vulnerable here. If we’re not completely focused and completely on message then we’re exposed.”