ALBANY — Working with some hobbled players already, Alexander coach Tom Fauber had to make an emergency adjustment minutes before the start of the Tuesday match with D-III foe Wheelersburg. Junior captain Jenelle Fauber came up lame in warmups and could not play which called for a necessary lineup change.
And, the Pirates capitalized on that disruption of the Spartan system by playing to their tradition strength, the long lead pass. Concordia College signee Ellie Kallner collected one of those early offerings from Annie Coriell and dashed through the defense. As she gained space, she popped a low shot that went under legs and into the back of the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
The bigger Pirates held a physical advantage and used it to gain and hold ball control. Fauber’s squad had to cope with another loss when Leah Esselburn had to come off the pitch with a bloody nose. Striker Amora Albano also came off the pitch for needed adjustment to her knee brace after several collisions.
Coriell, playing a significant role in the midfield, doubled the Pirate lead to 2-0 with a low fifteen yard shot that skipped under Alexander netminder Emma Pennington. The junior goalie was hit by the injury bug as well chasing down a send in. She was replaced in the strings by freshman Michaela Moat.
Then the Spartans began to manufacture some offense with five minutes to go. Freshman Aquaria Albano had worked by the left side defense and placed the ball toward the goal. The cross was dangerously close to the goal but no Spartan could get a foot on the ball.
Alexis Queen shook her defenders as time ran down and worked her way into a shooting position. Her shot ended in the side netting and the Spartans again found themselves in a halftime two goal deficit.
“We were aware of their style of play. They like that long game, have done it forever, and do it well,” Fauber said. “We didn’t adjust quickly enough to it, and can’t expect to come back giving up early goals.”
Alexander’s problems continued in the second half. Six minutes in, Kallner rifled a beauty into the far post and the lead grew to 3-0. A few minutes later, the injury cycle took a terrible turn.
As Moat came out to collect a send in, the Pirates’ Laney Eller rushed in to score. The collision took both down and Moat was injured. Play was stopped for ten minutes while the trainers tended to the freshman who was subsequently taken from the Spartan facility.
Play resumed but the prior intensity was diminished. Neither team could find the scoring column and the Spartans suffered their second loss.
“We played a team that was bigger, faster, and stronger than we were,” Fauber said. “They beat us to the ball and put their bodies in the way when they had to. However, we had to adapt to the injuries so a number of subs got good minutes. We’ve got a string of tough games ahead and we’ll need them.”
The schedule will not be friendly to the Spartans this week as they travel to Marietta on Thursday and return Saturday to host Lynchburg-Clay.
Burg 2 1 3
Alex 0 0 0
Burg Kallner 1st 33:40 0-1
Burg Coriell 1st 15:30 0-2
Burg Kallner 2nd 34:40 0-3