By Michael Hicks
LOVELAND — Things couldn’t have started out any better for Berthoud in the girls’ soccer opener Thursday afternoon. However, they could’ve ended better. Instead of a season-opening victory the Lady Spartans settled for a 2-2 tie with Thompson Valley in a game played at Mountain View High School.
“I’m happy that we played well and we looked good and we accomplished some of the things we wanted to do,” Berthoud head coach Jeff Benjamin said.
That said, the only thing that was missing was a win. And even that looked attainable after the first 40 minutes.
Berthoud jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of Hannah Otto goals two minutes apart halfway through the first half. First, Otto beat Thompson Valley goalie Meagan Holderman with a crossing shot into the left lower corner of the net. Then two minutes later, she did it again, both times off assists from Hillary Cito.
“It was great. They came out and played well. I was happy with our intensity, our physical play. On the goals, like we were talking about on the sidelines, going into the wind that ball will hold up not threatening the keeper. I thought we had some speed on them back there. … Hannah managed to put away two of her chances,” Benjamin said.
That’s where things stood until Thompson Valley was awarded a penalty kick two minutes into the second half. Coury Pitt drilled home the shot past Berthoud’s Lydia Munoz to cut the deficit in half. Eighteen minutes later, the Eagles tied the game on an Emma Howard goal assisted by Pitt.
“It definitely took our head out of the game a little bit,” Benjamin said of the penalty kick. “Give credit to Thompson Valley. They came out and they were pushing us the first couple of minutes. That’s one thing that hurts us, that penalty kick. They were already getting pressure on us. We needed to match their intensity at the start of the half. Then that two-goal lead, it’s a cliché’, is always the most dangerous because one goal makes it a game again and we have an example of it right there.”
Thompson Valley outshot Berthoud 9-6 and held a 4-3 edge in corner kicks. Munoz finished with seven saves, while Holderman had four.
Berthoud (0-0-1) returns to action Monday at Fossil Ridge High School.
BERTHOUD 2, THOMPSON VALLEY 2
BERTHOUD 2 0 0—2
THOMPSON VALLEY 0 2 0—2
B — Hannah Otto (Hillary Cito), 24th minute
B — Otto (Cito), 26th minute
TV — Coury Pitt (PK), 42nd minute
TV — Emma Howard (Pitt), 60th minute
SHOTS: Berthoud 6; Thompson Valley 9
CORNER KICKS: Berthoud 3; Thompson Valley 4
FOULS: Berthoud 7; Thompson Valley 6
SAVES: B — Lydia Munoz 7; TV — Meagan Holderman 4
<p><span style=”font-size: small;”><span style=”font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;”>Berthoud’s Hannah Otto and Brittany McNeill celebrate the second of Otto’s two first-half goals as Thompson Valley’s Coury Pitt stands in disbelief Thursday at Mountain View High School. Pitt would add a penalty kick goal in the second half as the teams played to a 2-all season-opening tie.</span></span></p>