It's a new Day: Cat midfielder finds mean streakSeptember 12, 2012
By JOHN PATISHNOCK
Herald Sports Writer
LINCOLN CITY — Battling for a rebound amid a scrum seemed as attractive to Elizabeth Day as having chickenpox during prom.
At least that was the case last year. Even earlier this season.
But after constant razzing from her coaches, Day, a sophomore midfielder on the Jasper girls soccer team, doesn’t shrink from such situations anymore.
That’s why she was able to poke in a rebound while surrounded by at least a half-dozen players Tuesday night, when Jasper earned a 3-1 win against Class 1A No. 19 Heritage Hills at Lincoln City.
Day’s goal, which came at 25:43 of the second half, capped the Wildcats’ scoring.
“At the beginning of the year they would always get on me about not being aggressive enough,” Day said of her coaches. “Then as the year is going on, I think I’m getting better at that.”
Maria Baer headed in a free kick from Emily Jones with 9:35 remaining in the first half and Erin Moser dribbled in from the right side and connected from about 25 yards out a few minutes later to furnish Jasper (6-4-2) with a 2-0 halftime lead.
Heritage Hills (5-3-1) scored with a little less than 11 minutes remaining in the match when Breigh Haase, who switched over from midfield to start her first game at forward, rolled in a shot from a few yards out, catching a ricochet off a pass.
Heritage Hills coach Doug Satterfield wasn’t enamored with the effort the Patriots put forth in the first half, but the second half was different, he said. The Patriots connected on more passes, giving Haase more chances as the team tried to isolate the sophomore for scoring chances.
“I just think the first half we didn’t compete,” Satterfield said. “We talked about three kids that looked like they wanted to win the first half and everyone else was observing. ... I thought the second half we put a different team out there. I thought we controlled a lot of the play. I was pleased with the second-half performance.”
For Day, her goal wasn’t the result of her conquering some sort of unfounded apprehension. Last year, she collided with Northeast Dubois keeper Katie Kluesner.
Day broke her ankle and missed the Wildcats’ final nine matches.
“She’s kind of had to repeat some of those freshmen growing pains, but my gosh, she played tough tonight,” Jasper coach Anthony Price said. “The beginning of the season she backed down when it came to challenges, probably because of that injury she suffered last year. Now we see her being tough and scrappy and poking in that goal on that corner kick, and just being a dangerous threat in general.”
To help pass the time and prepare for this year, Day juggled the ball at her house, and Jasper’s preseason conditioning drills helped plenty, too, she said.
But Day didn’t have to just catch up physically. Jasper is implementing a new philosophy this season, passing to feet more often than over the top of defenders.
Day kept up Tuesday, as did her teammates, collaring loose balls and controlling the tempo for much of the first half and parts of the second.
“I was happy that we won the physical battle,” Price said. “We won a lot of balls in the air, we were first to a lot of balls, and if we can maintain that mentality through the rest of the season it’ll take us pretty far.”
“We combined really well, we played really aggressive and won the balls we needed to win,” Day added.
Price talked of Day’s ability to see the field, saying her experience of playing point guard for the JV and freshman Wildcat teams translates to soccer.
“She has some of that same vision with space and where people are going to be with soccer and I really like that about her,” Price said.
That the effort came against a quality opponent made it all the better.
Price said the Patriots represent the type of team the Wildcats will play at sectional, adding that nights like Tuesday will help prepare his team more than blowing out opponents 9-0 or 10-0. Jasper did just that earlier this year against Princeton and Boonville, respectively.
And for the third straight match, Jasper scored at least three goals, rebounding from a stretch of six consecutive contests when the Cats didn’t post more than two scores.
“We came out really fast and our past few games we haven’t,” Day said. “We’ve come out really slow and then it’s hard to get back in the groove, but tonight we came out really fast and just played well from the beginning.”
Contact John Patishnock at email@example.com.
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