OAKLEY, Calif. — In a new campaign where Freedom graduated Bay Valley Athletic League leading goal scorer Kaytlin Brinkman, head coach Matt Oliveri fully expects senior forward Izzy Midgley to step up to the plate.
And Midgley took care of business for her team Tuesday night, scoring the lone goal in Freedom’s season opening 1-0 victory over Irvington.
“We’re going to look for her to lead the line for us,” Oliveri said. “Obviously we can't replace Kaytlin, she’s a good player. Izzy is capable of doing the things we want. She’s going to lead on the attacking side of the game.”
Midgley’s goal came with just ten minutes left in the game. After getting an open ball she was able to chip the it over the head of the Irvington goalkeeper.
“I knew it was going in from the moment I chipped it over the keeper,” Midgley said.
But Irvington was not done. In the closing minutes of the game the Viking fired on all cylinders. But Briana O’Dell made a pair of saves within the last two minutes of the game to keep the clean sheet and have Freedom win its season opener.
“I was focused. It is your job to keep our team in the game. My main priority is to not let my team down.” O’Dell said.
It was a game that could have been taken care of in the first half by Freedom. The Falcons had four shots on goal. Midgley opened up the game with a left foot shot that ended up going straight to the goalkeeper. Samantha Rogers and Paulina Gutierrez also had shots on goal. Freedom was dominating, but could not capitalize.
“Finishing is a big progress for us. We haven’t really touched on it early on the season. We need to touch on some finishing and be more confident on the goal.” Oliveri said.
In the second half it was a different story. Irvington had Freedom on edge for the first 20 minutes of the second half. The Vikings played the ball in Freedom’s defending half but had no shot on goal.
But when Freedom found its rhythm again, the offensive production started to wane. Midgley had a corner kick pass to Anissa Gomez who headed the ball but just missed the back of the net. Midgley later had another shot that bounced of the crossbar.
Freedom will hit the road to play Clayton Valley on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. Irvington will play intercity rival Washington on Dec. 11 at 5:45 p.m.