Greenwood girls soccer coach Joe Mushrush felt as though his team was outplayed in the first half of Wednesday evening’s match at Whiteland.
Fortunately for Mushrush, his Woodmen had Kayla Rance and the Warriors didn’t.
Rance scored a pair of early goals, Taylor Neely added another in the second half, and Greenwood was able to roll to a 3-1 victory against its Mid-State Conference rival.
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“Our midfield is fantastic,” Mushrush said. “We’ve got great playmakers there. Anytime you get that combination of Kayla Rance and Taylor Neely, you’ve got a chance to win.”
Rance made a run at the goal in the opening minute and then cashed in shortly thereafter, carrying into the box and beating Whiteland keeper Leesha Thacker from the left side just 2:32 into the match.
Midway through the first half, Rance added another score, converting a penalty kick after being taken down in the box.
The Warriors (1-3) had plenty of chances at the other end, creating numerous opportunities off of counterattacks, but Greenwood netminder Madelyn Moan was up to the task, making nine saves in the opening half — several of the diving variety.
Moan went horizontal twice in the first 25 minutes, stopping hard shots by Emily Williams and Bridgette Freije. She then caught a break at the first-half horn when a Hedda Johnsrud laser caromed off the crossbar.
“I think we got too comfortable,” Rance said of Greenwood’s play after seizing the lead quickly, “but we picked it up.”
The Warriors had far fewer opportunities in the second half, when the Woodmen (3-0) controlled possession for the bulk of the period. That control eventually led to an insurance goal by Neely, who put one in from about 25 yards out on the right side in the 60th minute.
Whiteland was able to break up the shutout on a Madisyn Procter tally with 28.2 seconds remaining.
Whiteland coach Alyson Grande was lamenting the missed opportunities earlier in the evening.
“We had 18 shots,” she said. “We just weren’t able to finish, and Greenwood’s got some talented girls.”
That talent was enough to put the Woodmen over the top Wednesday.
“I think this really showed us what we’re capable of,” Rance said after the victory. “We lost to them last year, and now we won, so it’ll give us some confidence.”