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Troy's defense blanks B-Town
Steve Haggerty knew the Olympic High School girls soccer team he coaches eventually would score some goals against Bremerton Wednesday night.Haggerty's problem was how his injury-weakened team was going to stop the Knights from scoring right back.We were hurting for defenders, said Haggerty, who started the game with five starters sitting on the bench for various reasons. One of them, sophomore Ashley Cook, is the Trojans' normal stopper, assigned to mark the opposition's toughest scorer.With Cook out resting an ankle injury, Oly had to show its depth. Junior Joanne Amlag assumed the stopper's role and shadowed Bremerton scoring leader Alisha White. Another junior, Ariel Fowler, made her first varsity start on the back line.With the help of some solid goalkeeping from Erin Shafer, the rebuild held up for a 4-0 Olympic victory in a Narrows League Bridge Division game delayed for one day and played beneath a half-mast flag resulting from Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the East Coast.I told Joanne that she was going to have to step up. We knew we had to shut Alisha down, and she was able to do that, Haggerty said. And Ariel played really well - that's impressive, to go right from the junior varsity team to varsity starter.Cassie Pugh and Emily Tracy each had a goal and an assist for Troy, which waited until the second half to exploit a young Bremerton back line.In fact, it wasn't until just three minutes before the intermission, when Pugh was taken down by Ashlee Kile on a run into the penalty box and converted the resulting penalty kick, that Oly got on the scoreboard.I don't think we moved (the ball) well at all in the first half, Haggerty said. They were just collapsing on Emily, so at halftime we moved her back to midfield, and that opened some space up for us up front.We played hard, said Bremerton coach Lance McCoy, who, outside of Kile and sweeper Bri Shardelman, has little in the way of experience on his back line. But we're still learning how to play. We're really young, and we just don't know how yet.Right now, our midfield's trying to do too much; they not just knocking it, McCoy said.McCoy talked about the game Thursday morning, between sighs of relief. He had feared that he might've lost White, a tireless attacker who produced 11 goals last year as a junior, in a late-game collision with Oly goalkeeper Erin Shafer.White was taken to the hospital for X-rays Wednesday night, when McCoy suspected she might've suffered a fracture. The injury turned out to be less serious - a deep bone contusion on her right shin - but no less painful.We thought we might've lost her, said McCoy. But she's a tough kid. I'll be she's back next week. If she has to wrap sheet metal around (the leg), she'll be back.White's injury came with a little more than seven minutes on the clock, with Oly holding a 3-0 lead and the Knights mounting a last-ditch offensive. It appeared that she and Shafer kicked each other as Shafer came off her line to try and smother White's run into the right side of the box.The loss of White finally seemed to unravel the young Knights, and the closing minutes became a succession of chances for Oly at the other end. Tracy, who'd been threatening to score the entire game, finally got her tally with six minutes left to play. Finishing a long solo run, she juked Johnson off her feet, cut to her right and shot into an open net.Earlier, Tracy collided with Johnson as she dished across the goal mouth to teammate Lindsay Neste. And a run by Pugh set up Lauren Haas for Oly's second goal, which came eight minutes after halftime.Besides Cook, the Trojans were missing starters Ali Armstrong, Tiffany Jess and Amy Patawaran. Armstrong and Jess are expected back this season, but Patawaran, a freshman midfielder, is lost for the year with a knee injury.