Undaunted by their inability to find the net in the first half, the Washington Spirit Reserves resilience paid off with two second half goals to top the Virginia Beach Piranhas Saturday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex. The final 45 minutes became the ‘tale of two Ashleys’ as goals by both Ashley Herndon and Ashley Spivey proved enough to best the pesky Piranhas.
With the looming threat of heavy rains throughout the Washington DC metro area for much of the day, the Spirit Reserves expected sloppy conditions for Saturday night’s match. However the weather seemed to spare the Maryland SoccerPlex, as field conditions remained ideally cool and dry throughout the evening.
As they did the previous Saturday, the Spirit Reserves surged forward offensively for much of the first half, launching numerous attacks at the Piranhas back line. Despite surrendering 12 Washington shots, the Virginia Beach defense held firm with the addition of several quality saves from Piranhas keeper Lauren Vetock.
With the match still scoreless, the second half began with some early pressure from the visiting Piranhas and Washington goalkeeper Didi Haracic was called upon twice to keep Virginia Beach off the scoreboard. The Spirit Reserves then regrouped and found their legs to resume pressure on the Piranhas net.
Washington forward Herndon broke the deadlock in the 48th minute after collecting an errant pass near midfield. Herndon drove forward down the left side and tucked her shot low and true, scoring her second goal in as many weeks on the season.
University of Maryland product Spivey entered the match midway through the second half and wasted little time on making her presence known. After beating her defender on the far side, Spirit forward Amber Stobbs slotted a nifty pass across the Virginia Beach box to the crashing Spivey. The Washington forward drilled her shot untouched into the Piranhas net in the 73rd minute for the 2-0 victory.
“We showed great character and energy in keeping a very hard working Piranhas team quiet last night,” commented head coach Mark Parsons. “It was very pleasing to see we are improving on the ball and creating chances.”
“A full team performance from all the players was key in our first important win of the season,” concluded Parsons.
The Spirit Reserves make the short trip south next week to face the Fredericksburg Impact on Memorial Day Monday May 27th. Match time is set for 5:00 PM at the Fredericksburg Field House stadium. Washington returns home the following weekend to host the North Jersey Valkyries on Saturday June 1st at 4:00PM. That match will be held as a special event at Liberty High School in Bealeton, Virginia.