Girls soccer: Batavia edges Geneva on Salyers' 2 goals
Grace Salyers seemed to be everywhere on Tuesday night.
The Batavia junior was a key reason why the Bulldogs moved the ball so efficiently against Geneva and she scored twice to lead them to the 2-1 DuKane Conference victory.
"She played a great game," Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. "Her distribution up top set up the other girls and our ball movement was pretty tremendous today. She did a nice job of that and we were able to keep them on their heels."
Geneva (6-4-1, 1-2) actually struck first but that celebratory feeling didn't last long.
"We worked the ball to the outside which is Batavia's weakness," Geneva coach Megan Owens said. "We crossed it in and scored off of it so it was nice to be able to put one in early."
Batavia (11-2-2, 3-0) tied the game with 22:22 remaining in the opening half when Salyers was fouled by a Geneva player and awarded a penalty kick.
The Bulldogs took advantage to tie the game at 1-1 as Salyers has now converted her last two PKs this season after missing her first one.
"I came out here recently and hit 100 balls or so, whatever it took," Salyers said. "I told myself to not go mental and just do what you know how to do."
Things remained that way until midway through the second half when junior Bella Zink found Salyers.
"I think I was creating good space and the keeper was pinching it," Salyers said. "Bella played a great ball into space and I just took a touch with my right foot to my left and hit it. It was such a weird angle to have to get your body around to curve it around, but that's what I needed to do."
Arguably the Vikings' best opportunity to deposit the equalizer came a few minutes later off a play that began off a corner kick. A mad scramble for a loose ball resulted in a couple of shot attempts among a scrum in front of the net, but no Geneva players could secure possession quickly enough and fire their shot without it getting deflecting or misfiring.
"It was a good battle, but I wish a PK hadn't decided it," Owens said. "I think it was unfortunate that that was the deciding factor in the game, a great Tri-Cities battle between two teams that fought hard. It just stings a little but, but we'll learn from it."
The Bulldogs bounced back from just their second loss of the season, a 1-0 decision to Metea Valley on Saturday, and now get ready for a tournament in Iowa.
"Geneva is always our rival so we always we want to beat them," Batavia junior Abby Zipse said. "So we weren't looking ahead against Metea. We just were not lucky and that was a learning experience that we're using going forward."