After a scoreless drought dragged on for most of the night, the Apex and Apex Friendship girls soccer teams gave spectators quite the show, combining for three goals in the final 11 minutes of regulation as the Cougars picked up a 2-1 victory in their inaugural win against its new crosstown rival.
Apex (2-2-1, 2-1-1) wasn’t able to score on its first 17 shots – largely in part to six saves from Friendship (1-5, 0-4) keeper Marzia Josephson – but converted on each of its final two shots.
“Oh, we were frustrated. It requires you to be persistent and block out what has already happened and believe a goal is going to come,” Apex coach Kevin Todd said. “Surely, as the game went on, it weighed on us heavily to score that goal.”
The first came in the 69th minute as Sara Moushegian took Melissa Fernandez’s cross and slotted it just inside the right post.
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Five minutes later, it was Josephson – who was moved from keeper to striker in the 65th minute – taking the Patriots’ first shot of the night, one that ricocheted off the crossbar and in with six minutes to go.
“She’s a competitor, whatever we need her to do, she plays wherever,” Friendship coach Derek Blackwelder said. “When it’s close, we start her in the goal … and then put her up top and see if we can get one. It happened today.”
With it looking like the game would head to overtime, Kendall Augsburg called her own number and launched a shot from 30 yards out that went through the outstretched arms of Friendship’s keeper with under two minutes to go.
“I saw the ball played in open space, everyone was yelling at me and I just had to shoot it,” Ausburg said. “We were working hard, we were getting frustrated but in the end it was all mental and we worked through it. It took a lot of heart and a lot of love for the game.”
It was a wild turn of events, but Todd described the final goal as being a relief more than anything.
“It was relieving more than anything else, I stood there and there’s some moments you want to cheer loud and there’s others you’re just relieved that finally you scored,” Todd said. “That was one of those moments right there.”
When Friendship took Josephson out of the net after 65th minute, it changed the entire dynamic of the match. The move energized the Friendship offense, but also allowed the Cougars to strike twice.
They said it
“I can’t say enough about they way that they played and what we have to look forward to, I’m really excited about the future of the program,” Blackwelder said. “We can play in this conference and it’s one of the toughest in the state. We will be a power to come.”
Three to know
Dani Fiorito, Apex: Despite not scoring, Fiorito’s smart passing and possession play in the midfield was crucial for the Cougars.
Kendall Augsburg, Apex: Scored the game-winner from what seemed like another zip code.
Mary Warren, Apex Friendship: The sophomore center back played a pivotal role for the Patriots, blocking a plethora of shots and anchoring the back line.
By the numbers
19: Shots taken by Apex, eight of which were on goal.
1: Shot by Friendship, which scored.
5: Five of the Cougars’ seven goals in 2016 have been scored at home.