Girls soccer: Streator and Ottawa play to a 1-1 deadlock

After a scoreless first half, Bulldogs and Pirates each score once in final 40 minutes at King Field

Ottawa’s Chloe Carmona and Streator’s Alyssa Arambula and Ottawa’s chase after a pass during the match Saturday at Ottawa.

OTTAWA — In a match where both sides gave the other few quality chances, both Streator and Ottawa made the best of its best opportunities in the second half of Saturday’s match at King Field.

Ottawa freshman Chloe Carmona scored her first varsity goal with just over 14 minutes remaining to break a scoreless contest, while Streator senior Zuzu Gonzales headed home the tying tally with just under seven minutes to play.

From there neither side was able to put home the game-winner with the match ending in a 1-1 tie.

For the season, Ottawa is now 2-2-1, while Streator is 0-2-2.

On Carmona’s goal, off an assist from sophomore Sophia Falaney, the Pirates’ youngster used a deke right, then a deke left to shake her lone defender, then sent a low shot from 15-yards out into the left corner of the net with 14 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the second half.

“I just wanted it to be a solid touch whether the keeper stopped it or not. Luckily it was out of her reach.”

—  Zuzu Gonzalez, Streator senior forward

“To be honest, I really didn’t want to shoot the ball, so that’s why I made the cuts,” Carmona said. “I was nervous to shoot, nervous to mess up, but then I realized how close to the net I was, and I just went for it. I had just a split second to take a look and see where the keeper was and luckily shot it where I wanted to.

“Hopefully I won’t be as nervous to shoot the next time. It was just a confidence thing, I guess.”

Ottawa coach Kevin Oleson admitted sometimes in soccer it only takes one possession to help turn things around.

“We struggled a little getting anything really solid going offensively up until Chloe’s goal,” Olesen said. “I felt like play was pretty even in the first half, but Streator did a good job being a little more aggressive in the second half. We were able to transition nicely on that (scoring) play after Streator had had us pinned in our own end for a little while. We were able to make a couple of passes into open space, the last one by Sophia, and Chloe did a fantastic job of finishing.”

Streator continued the pressure after the Ottawa score and finally broke through with 6:55 remaining off a fantastic corner kick off the foot of Alyssa Arambula that found a wide open Gonzalez.

“I know Alyssa Arambula can kick the ball past the PK line on corners, so I wanted to set up a little further behind the penalty box to start the play,” Gonzalez said. “Really, it just kind of happened. Her kick came directly to me, and I was ready for it. Headers are tough, so being honest, I was just trying to push the ball towards the net with a header. I just wanted it to be a solid touch whether the keeper stopped it or not. Luckily it was out of her reach.”

Streator coach J.T. Huey said while he was frustrated in the way Ottawa scored its goal, he was pleased with how his team bounced back to find a way to tie the match.

“Not much to write about from the first half for sure, not much speed from either side and the ball was concentrated in the middle of the field,” Huey said. “I felt like we controlled the ball and field position for much of the second half but just couldn’t finish the ball. Then we had a breakdown defensively and Ottawa was able to convert off of it. We left (Carmona) all only out in space, she got the ball, beat our defender with a couple of really nice touches and scored.

“Zuzu made a nice, angled run on the corner kick we scored off of and Alyssa made a great kick to the middle of the top of the box. It was a nice all-around play, and it was good to see us rebound and at least earn a tie.”

Streator is back in action on Monday when it hosts Princeton, while Ottawa will to be back on the pitch on Wednesday at La Salle-Peru in an Interstate 8 Conference match, while Streator.

Streator’s ZuZu Gonzalez and Ottawa’s Taylor Brandt kick for possession during the match Saturday at Ottawa.