The St. James girls (4-6) and Newburg (0-5-1) faced off for a rematch of their season opener on Tuesday, April 11. St. James took the first matchup 2-0 and won by the same margin in a back and forth 5-3 win over the Lady Wolves.
St. James was able to strike first in the 10th minute when Quinn Paulus worked her way to the net for a goal. Newburg then responded with a goal of their own 10 minutes later when Riley Guffey was able to score on a one on one chance against St. James keeper Ivy Fowler. After another 10 minutes passed, Guffey fired a shot on goal, but the shot was deflected by a St. James defender. Grace Affolter was able to corral the ricochet and bounced a shot off the post and into the goal to give Newburg a 2-1 lead. They were able to carry that lead into the half.
After the half it was all St. James. Paulus found the back of the net for her second goal of the net two minutes into the second half to tie the game at two. She then dished a pass off to Mikaela Donnelly, who scored a goal of her own in the 50th minute. Just over 10 minutes later, Donnelly was able to knock in her second goal to push the St. James lead to 4-2.
Newburg wasn't going to go down without a fight. Two minutes after Donnelly's second goal, Guffey was able to cross the ball to Mychaela Van Pelt, who was able to finish to cut the deficit to one. Unfortunately, Newburg was dealt a rough blow a few minutes later.
After a collision in the keeper zone, Newburg goalie Sam Mathis dislocated her shoulder in the 70th minute and was called for a penalty, setting up a St. James penalty shot. Alexis Stevenson came in to replace Mathis in goal and managed to save the PK.
The Lady Tigers were able to cushion their lead with another goal from Paulus, her third of the game, in the 75th minute to push the score to 5-3. St. James was able to hold Newburg off for the final five minutes to win by that score.
"It was an interesting game to say the least," said St. James assistant coach Beau Moreland. "We knew going into it that it was going to be a winnable game, considering we had beaten them once before. We had some doubts after playing Union and St. Clair. They were either going to react poorly or use the strength of Union and St. Clair to our advantage and learn from it."
For Newburg head coach Cody Martin, the game came down to both teams' energy levels at the end of the game. Newburg faced the same problem in their first matchup, as their lack of numbers led to more exhausted players on the pitch.
"It was a back and forth match, but in the end we had mental lapses," said coach Martin. "We got tired and forgot to take the sideline pass away, which resulted in multiple build-ups from our opponents that led to goals."
At lot of this game came down to keeping. Newburg will now be without their starting keeper for an extended period of time and St. James is already playing with their backup. The Lady Tigers' starting keeper, Tylar Reeves, returned to action on Monday only to suffer a thumb injury in her first game back. Reeves was able to get some action defensively, but St. James will be without her for the foreseeable future.
"(Fowler) has come a long way and is really starting to help our depth (at keeper) make a difference," said coach Moreland.
As for Newburg, they'll need to make some major adjustments without Mathis in goal.
"Losing Sam Mathis in goalkeeper this season due to a dislocated shoulder is going to hurt us; she keeps us in a lot of close games."
At the end of the day, this game came down to St. James flipping the switch in the second half. Moreland liked seeing his team turn it on when they needed to.
"Determination in the second half (was the key," said coach Moreland. "They were determined to come back and prove that they were better in than they were on the first half."
Next up for St. James is a trip to Sullivan on Thursday, April 13. Newburg will look for their first win of the season with a trip to Belle on Friday, April 14.