WARREN - Some teams need a big play to wake them up. For the Bristol girls soccer team, it took a big play from the opposing team to receive that wake up call.
After Kennedy's Natalie Hoso gave the Eagles the lead in the 61st minute, the Panthers roared back, scoring two goals within 10 minutes to pull off the 2-1 win on the road.
"We didn't play very good in terms of the passing game," Bristol coach John Rasmussen said. "We weren't moving off the ball. But the good news is that the girls know what to do. They just turned it up a notch - that's all I can say."
Bristol's comeback started in the 63rd minute, with Laurin Elza getting behind the defense 30 yards from the net. The junior midfielder took a couple of dribbles before firing past Kennedy (7-5-1) goalkeeper Calli Kowach.
Controlling the possession afterward, the Panthers (10-2-3) got the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute, with a little help from the Kennedy defense. The ball popped off center back Jenna Jewett's head and into the path of Lindsey Elza, who fired from 12 yards away into the top of the net.
"I knew we had to get some goals in, so I tried my hardest after they scored," junior Lindsey Elza said.
Bristol could have scored more, with Lindsey Elza's speed finally taking over. She got behind the defense once again in the 73rd minute, but Kowach managed to make the stop.
The Panthers tried time and time again during the game to use Elza's speed because of their lack of possession. The junior forward created Bristol's only offensive chances for much of the match by outrunning the Eagle defenders to long passes from her teammates.
"I knew our speed would kill them," Rasmussen said. "(Elza) is fast. Against most defenses if we start getting in a bind and we're not playing good ball, we definitely want to use her speed."
For Kennedy, the result wasn't indicative of the match.
The Eagles controlled possession until after Hoso's goal and created the most opportunities. Kennedy put five shots on net in the first 45 minutes and 10 total, with junior forward Nicole Rodomsky collecting six of those shots alone.
Unfortunately for Kennedy, the Panthers' goalkeeper Ally Jones held strong, making nine saves.
"(Jones) was a good goalkeeper," Kennedy coach Cara Russo-Gatta said. "Today, it just didn't work for us (offensively). Our luck wasn't there today, as far as the shots went."
Along with the lack of finishing touch, the Eagles also seemed to let down emotionally once taking the lead, something Russo-Gatta hoped to address.
Following the goal, Russo-Gatta told her players "five minutes," reminding them to not give up a goal immediately after they score and possibly score another one, but her team couldn't stop the Panther attack.
"I started this year, when we score a goal, one of the problems we noticed early on in the year was, when we would score a goal, the other team would come back and score a goal," Russo-Gatta said. "I just say 'five minutes,' and the girls know that they have to push it for five minutes."