In the final minutes of Denton’s game Friday against Arlington Bowie, the final outcome hinged on two corner kicks in the final two minutes.
The first corner kick had Denton seemingly poised to salvage a draw. The second one erased those hopes.
Bowie’s Meagan Mattson volleyed in a corner kick from Alexis Castillo in the 79th minute to give the Lady Volunteers a 3-2 victory over Denton at Bronco Field.
Mattson’s goal came one minute after the Lady Broncos had tied the game at 2.
“We had no reason of giving the corner kick to start with, and of course we get punished in the last second,” Denton coach Iseed Khoury said.
Denton conceded the late corner kick after Bowie built an unassuming amount of pressure in the final minutes.
The Lady Vols (2-1-1) moved their entire team up the field for the final corner kick, which found its way to Mattson.
Moments earlier, the Lady Broncos were rewarded for continuing to press Bowie’s defense in an attempt to even the score.
Denton (1-2) was awarded a corner kick after Lady Broncos forward Lindsey Wilson couldn’t track down a long pass and the ball was ruled to have gone off Bowie goalkeeper Miranda Haney.
Denton midfielder Kyla Petrie swung the ball into the 6-yard box, Bowie couldn’t clear it off the goal line and the ball went straight into the back of the net in the 78th minute.
Khoury said that, based on the flow of the game, he felt his team had a chance to pull off the comeback.
“We looked like we were spirited, and we had the better end of the ball at their defending end,” Khoury said. “It was just a matter of, can we get a clear look at goal and get a shot and win the game.”
For most of the game, Denton seemed to have the better scoring chances. However, Bowie made the most of its opportunities with tremendous finishes.
In the seventh minute, Castillo took advantage of a Denton turnover, stopped and blasted a shot from about 25 yards out. The ball kept rising and went past the outstretched arms of Broncos goalkeeper Peyton Lenaberg.
Lenaberg took over starting duties from Maddie Palasota, who tore her ACL four weeks ago in a club soccer game.
Denton controlled possession and had plenty of opportunities to score at least one goal after Castillo’s strike. Wilson had two 1-on-1 chances against the Bowie goalkeeper but was thwarted each time. There was a blown two-on-none fast break and a 1-on-1 opportunity that saw the ball sent right of the goal by Alana Burns.
Khoury said he stressed the importance of finishing scoring chances.
“We left way too many chances behind, and it came back to bite us in the end,” Khoury said. “You can’t have so many 1-on-1’s with the keeper and not at least make the keeper work for it.”
In the second half, Denton tied the score at 1 after Haney couldn’t smother a ball being chased by Wilson. Haney was near the edge of the penalty box and the ball found its way to Burns, who posted an empty-net goal.
The tie was short-lived as Bowie once again capitalized on a great shot. Bowie’s Hayden Griffin found herself open on the left side of the penalty box and curled a shot into the right side of the net.
Once again Denton tied the game, but once again Bowie went ahead, this time for good on Mattson’s late goal.
Petrie came off the bench to start both halves. The midfielder is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in May, and Khoury said he’s easing the senior back into the game as she’s operating at about half of her capacity.
Petrie said the Lady Broncos just need to spend more time on the field, especially during nondistrict play.
“I think we just need more experience,” Petrie said. “That’s what we’re getting, since it’s just preseason.”
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com.