Wilson Girls Soccer

After giving up a penalty kick goal in the first minute of the Moore League girls soccer season, defending league champion Wilson scored 10 minutes later and dominated possession the rest of the way in a 1-1 draw on Tuesday at Millikan.

“Our girls could have dropped their heads," Wilson coach Dalton Kaufman said. "But to get it back so quickly, we felt like we kind of sucked the momentum back onto our bench.”

Millikan (1-2-4, 0-0-1) started the league opener on the front foot, and a bouncing ball into the Wilson 18-yard box hit the arm of a Bruin defender. The penalty kick was award by the center referee, and senior Ryley Bedard converted it for 1-0 lead in the first minute.

Wilson (4-2, 1-0) handled the Rams' pressure for the next few minutes, and senior midfielder Lauren O’Malley helped the Bruins turn the tide. The senior captain was Moore League defensive player of the year as a junior, and has moved up to attacking midfielder this season.

“We knew we would come back because of the trust we have in each other,” O’Malley said. “I like getting into the attack and take chances more.”

In the 11th minute, O’Malley beat her defender down the near sideline and turned in a cross. Sophomore Kate Rael collected it and shot, but it hit a Millikan defender. The rebound fell to Kristin Berry, and the sophomore knocked in the tying goal off of the near side post.

The game slowed down after that on a sloppy field, and there wasn’t another shot on goal in the first half. Wilson held Millikan without a shot on goal in the second half. The Bruins outshot the Rams 9-3. Both teams were whistled for a pair of tough offsides calls after halftime.

“I honestly feel like we just ran out of time,” Kaufman said. “We were so much closer to scoring a goal than they were. These league games are so emotional. We haven’t had an emotional test yet, and I think the girls passed with flying colors."

Millikan coach Tino Nunez said his team got pulled into playing Wilson’s more direct style in the second half. The Rams were also without standout midfielder Harley Wade due to illness.

“We got caught kicking the ball,” Nunez said. “It was an ugly game without a lot of connection. We have a lot of banged up girls because the club season and high school seasons overlap. No excuses, they’re dealing with the same stuff, and we get to see them again.”

JJ has covered Long Beach sports for more than a decade. He's written for multiple newspapers in Southern California, produced professional event videos and won numerous awards for his writing and community service.

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