The Rockdale Lady Bulldogs soccer team gave the stout and seasoned Walnut Grove Lady Warriors all they could handle Tuesday afternoon, but in the end, it was too much Dallas Jones as Walnut Grove defeated Rockdale 3-1 on a blustery and cold non-region match at Rockdale Stadium.
The Lady Bulldogs were unable to generate any offensive rhythm in the first half as Walnut Grove controlled the midfield and thwarted Rockdale’s attempts to move the ball up-field.
Meanwhile, the Lady Warriors’ offense, which displayed crisp passing and stifling defense, broke through for the first goal as Jones intercepted a Rockdale pass, dribbled the ball down the left side, cut to the right and hammered the ball past keeper Sonam Brahmbhat at the 20:46 mark of the first period for a 1-0 lead.
Walnut Grove struck again before the half on a free kick after a Rockdale foul. Lady Warriors’ forward Jordan Meredith was fouled just outside the left goal area with 1:22 to play in the half. Awarded a free kick, she lofted a beautiful, curving shot over the Rockdale defensive wall and just out of reach of Brahmbhat, putting Walnut Grove ahead 2-0 after one period of play.
Rockdale Coach Greg Duffey made some adjustments at halftime that got the Lady Bulldogs back in the match.
“After we assessed what assets they (Walnut Grove) had, we made some adjustments on defense and we made some adjustments at midfield, too,” Duffey said. “We were trying to take advantage of the setting sun and the wind that was very prevalent today.”
Those adjustments worked as Rockdale was able to push the ball into Walnut Grove’s offensive zone, while keeping the Lady Warriors out of its scoring third.
The Lady Bulldogs broke through with 31:04 left in the match as forward Vanessa Rome stole a pass near midfield, dribbled down the middle and kicked the ball past Walnut Grove keeper Shannon Busby to get Rockdale within one goal, 2-1.
Rockdale kept up the pressure and had a few more good shots on goal, but could not get the equalizer.
Walnut Grove put the match away late in the second half as Jones scored her second goal of the match on breakaway, giving the Lady Warriors a 3-1 lead, which was the final score when the horn sounded.
Rockdale is back on the pitch Friday in a big region match against the Newton Lady Rams. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. at Rockdale Stadium.