CULVER — There are no do-overs in life. Fortunately, however, that’s not the case on the soccer pitch.
On a three-game skid after losing star center mid Heather Martin to injury several weeks ago, Bremen used Thursday’s Northern State Conference contest at Culver as an opportunity to regroup. The Lady Lions got the job done as senior Jenna Pfeiffer scored the go-ahead on a penalty kick in the 35th minute, and Bremen made it stand up through the second half to snap its losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the host Cavaliers.
“We call this the restart of our season after losing three. A victory is a victory; that’s what matters,” said Bremen Assistant Girls Soccer Coach Thomas Chang, filling in for head coach Erin Welborn at Culver.
The Bremen squad did a little soul-searching courtesy of a strong core of senior captains Wednesday night, and that session seemed to have had the desired effect at Culver.
“We had the senior captains run practice last night in the rain,” said Chang. “We said ‘It’s up to you. You’ve got to regroup this team and get us re-focused,’ because we’ve lost a couple games that we probably should’ve won or at least kept closer. So we needed the captains to step up and take control of their team — and it is their team in reality — and decide what needs to be done and see what they can do to help fix this. I think they did.”
With their wheel-woman out in Grace College signee Martin, Bremen’s revamped possession game made all the difference in Thursday’s outcome. The Lions out-possessed their hosts to pressure them with 26 shots compared to 10 by the Cavs, including a 17-5 shots on goal margin.
“Our starting midfielder has been out for about three weeks now so that makes a difference, but we’ve had a lot of people step up and really control the field for us,” said Chang.
“We did a better job passing tonight. The score didn’t show it, but our passing made the difference. We were able to not hold onto the ball as long and distribute a little better and penetrate a little deeper and get our shots.”
It was Culver who took the initial lead at the game, however.
Chelsea Salser sent a well-placed cross from the wing to Angela Lewellen on the far side of the 18-yard box, and the freshman scored her first goal of the year with a perfect volley drop shot over Bremen goalie Shayna Graverson’s outstretched hand.
“That was beautiful, and that’s her first goal of the season,” said Culver Head Coach Theresa Jacobson. “She usually plays defense, and we thought we would go with a little bit different formation. She went up there and she made the most of it. It was pretty.”
Pfeiffer knotted the game up with an unassisted strike in the 26th minute, however, and her second goal of the night on a penalty kick following a handball in the box in the 35th minute put the visitors over the top.
Culver split time in goal between Mickella Hardy and Abby James, and the duo did an admirable job holding down the Lions with eight and nine saves, respectively.
“I thought they both did an excellent job. The goal that (Pfeiffer) scored in the first half, that girl was just unmarked and she got a wide-open look at the goal, and it was a terrific shot,” said Jacobson. “That was no fault of Mickella’s, and then Abby James, I thought she made some terrific saves in the second half.”
Bremen improves to 5-4-1 with the big win at Culver, while Culver slips to 4-6-0 with its second straight narrow loss following a loss on penalty kicks to John Glenn Wednesday night.
“I was just really proud of the girls’ effort,” Jacobson said. “We’ve had two back-to-back games here with only 13 girls playing their hearts out, two heartbreaking losses to John Glenn last night and to Bremen tonight. But we played them a lot better than we did the first time.”
• BREMEN 2, CULVER 1
Culver — Angela Lewellen (Chelsea Salser), 19th minute
Bremen — Jenna Pfeiffer (unassisted), 25th minute
Bremen — Pfeiffer (PK), 35th minute
Shots: Bremen 26, Culver 10
Corners: Bremen 2, Culver 1
Saves: Shayna Graverson (Bremen) 8, Culver 17 (Mickella Hardy 8, Abby James 9)
Fouls: Bremen 6, Culver 7
Records: Bremen 5-4-1, Culver 4-6-0