By Jeremy Balan
Behind a lone goal from Adrian Kerester, University High School withstood a late Lick-Wilmerding surge in a 1-0 win in Bay Counties League West play on Monday at Crocker Amazon Park.
Kerester’s goal came in the 38th minute of the first half, off of a corner kick from Natalie Salmanowitz. Salmanowitz got the ball to Kerester at waist-level, where Kerester volleyed the ball into the left half of the net.
“It was a good service [from Salmanowitz] and the timing of the run was great,” said University Head Coach Deejae Johnson. “[Kerester] just got good technique on it. What more can you ask? It wasn’t a set play. Two girls just saw something and made it happen.”
While University (2-5-1, 1-1-1) controlled possession and created solid scoring opportunities with precise passes, Lick-Wilmerding (7-2-1, 3-1) struggled passing the ball, often turning the ball over with misguided passes.
“We struggled from start to finish and we were totally out of sync,” said Lick-Wilmerding Head Coach Matt Kurnick. “We came out a little disorganized and had a hard time coming together. [University] threw some different numbers at us and it took us a while to adapt.”
Even though the Tigers had limited scoring opportunities in the first half, in the final minutes they increased offensive pressure and created scoring chances, but a game University defense turned them away time and again.
“They had more pressure in the second half,” Johnson said. “We defended well with our backs and our midfield did well containing their better players.”
Even though the Tigers picked up their play late, Kurnick never felt they were close to tying the game.
“We had opportunities, but I never felt we were really back in the game, to tell you the truth,” Kurnick said. “Our pattern of play just wasn’t there today.”
University, the defending BCL West champion, picked up its first win in league play this season, while Lick-Wilmerding picked up its first loss after a 3-0 start in league play.
“[We] have a little bit of an identity to establish,” Johnson said. “In league, every game is going to be a tough one. There aren’t any clear-cut [favorites].”
Lick-Wilmerding and University have met in the last four BCL West championship games, with the Red Devils coming out on top in all four.
“The league this year is wide open. Everybody is beating everybody,” Kurnick said. “I think it’s best that we got a loss so we didn’t get over cocky. It’s probably better for the team that we had this experience. They don’t like losing to [University].”