The MCC Lady Thunderbirds were in “good spirits” going into their game with the GateWay Geckos, according to head soccer coach Andrew Guarneri.
“There’s a good warmup going on, so cross our fingers,” Guarneri said.
The Lady T-birds had already dismantled the Geckos 4-1 earlier in the season, but Guarneri said, “I don’t know that that was a true result, so we will see what happens today.”
The ladies of Mesa played tough against the Geckos, keeping them out of the net for most of the first half, but failed to get one passed the opposing goalie.
Up until the final minute of the half, the highlight had been the front flips of Geckos’ player Denise Santos, but with 22 seconds to go in the half, the Geckos put one passed Thunderbirds goalie Kylie Dean.
The game went to halftime with the Geckos leading 1-0.
“I think we had a bad first half which cost us,” Guarneri said. “We made some stupid mistakes. We couldn’t combine passes. We let them get in too many times.”
The Thunderbirds’ defense shored up after the half and didn’t allow another goal the rest of the game.
On offense, the ladies of Mesa were able to put one passed the Geckos’ defense and tie up the game, but were unable to put one of many shots passed the Geckos’ goalie to win the game.
Regulation ended with the score 1-1.
“We played good. The communication and everything (were) there, but we just weren’t executing,” Taylor Bennett-Begaye, Thunderbirds’ midfielder, said.
The T-birds was hindered by an injury to their best player, midfielder Andrea Duke. But in her absence, forward Taryn Garner has become the Thunderbirds’ main arsenal.
“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t finish it and get a W (win),” Garner said. “We need to play with more energy and more heart, and finish to win.”
The tie puts MCC’s record at 6-9-1 and further distances the Thunderbirds from the first playoff berth of the Guarneri era.