Lady Warriors Overtime Thriller Ends in Draw (and Season Preview)

Olivia Straka comes up big, leading the warriors to a tie.


Image/Graphics by Tyler Kolesar

Lady Warriors return an immense amount of experience this year, returning 13 letter winners. Missing from the photo is Hannah Betts.

On Tuesday, September 9th, the Lady Warriors kicked off the season at Northern Bedford, being met with a battle that ended in a 1-1 draw. With neither team coming out on top at the end of the halves, two overtime periods were necessary. The Lady Warriors pulled together, despite various challenges and held Northern Bedford to achieve a tie.

The game was a long-fought battle, with both teams fighting for possession. Northern Bedford came out strong, with several breakaways that were shut down by goalkeeper Katlyn Folmar, alongside her defense. This did not discourage the Lady Warriors, as they were eager to continue pressuring Northern Bedford’s defensive line and peppered them with shots on goal. Northern Bedford received heavy pressure, as the Lady Warriors racked up seventeen shots on the Panthers’ net, with the team hoping to capitalize soon. Then, at 26:34, Olivia Straka weaved her way in between defenders, netting the lone goal for the Warriors just outside the 18-yard box. Spirits were lifted and the Warriors held Northern Bedford scoreless throughout the remainder of the half, leading 1-0 at halftime. 

With the scoreboard in favor of the Lady Warriors, they stepped out for the second half. 

Once again, Northern Bedford came out playing physically and was determined to equalize the score. The second half was a struggle for possession, and both teams alike struggled to keep the ball for very long. Goalkeeper Katlyn Folmar came out fierce in this half. She made several crucial saves, relieving the Warriors from a close call during a breakaway in the 65th minute. The Warrior’s offense continued with advances towards the opposing net, yet was unlucky in most opportunities. The Warriors played defensively and held Northern Bedford scoreless up until 73:02 when a defensive breakdown allowed the Panthers to drill the ball into the net. 

By the time overtime rolled around, both teams were exhausted and just trying to stay in the game. The Warriors managed to slip away with a tie after neither team could find the back of the net at the end of two ten-minute overtime periods. The Warriors learned many new things during this game that will help them in the future.

Season Preview – 

The Warriors have a strong outlook for the 2021 season, as almost the entire starting lineup consists of last year’s roster. Minus losing two players to graduation last year, this lineup also brought home two consecutive D6 titles, along with the first PIAA state playoff soccer win in West Branch history. With 13 returning letter winners, the Lady Warriors are back and ready to become stronger this season. 

This year, the offense consists of all ages. Seniors Olivia Straka and Lauren Timblin will start up top and will be looking to work together to find the net alongside junior Emily Parks and returning sophomore Jenna Mertz. Joining them will be first-time varsity players, Emma Bucha, Dorothy Bailor, and Freshman Kaylea Fenush. 

Senior Mariah Hayles and returners Erin Godin and Hannah Betts will be leading the center on the field and delivering passes to the offensive half. Freshmen Sarah Guglielmi and Olivia Koleno will join the midfield as well, along with sophomore Breanna Rinehart. The defense has been the same unit for the past three years and is stronger than ever. The defense consists of Seniors Madison Kephart, Eleyna Hanslovan, Olivia Stavola, Anna Diviney, and Paige Washic. Payten Johnson, Ciara Condon, and Abby Diviney will also look to see some playing time among the solid defense. The newest member of the defense is goalkeeper Katlyn Folmar. Folmar stepped up after the loss of Sarah Betts to graduation. Folmar has been a great addition to the defensive line and showed her strength in the Northern Bedford game, making five saves.