Soccer firing on all cylinders

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Griffon soccer is off to an outstanding start in its young season.
Western defeated Lindenwood Sunday afternoon 2-1 in their last tune-up before their conference season begins on Friday against Central Oklahoma.
“The second season starts Friday in Edmond and we’ve got to be ready to bring it,” Griffon coach Chad Edwards said.
Hosting the Lions, the Griffons jumped out to a lead in the 33rd minute.
Taylor Gant scored her first goal of her career as she dribbled the ball up to the midfield, roaring past the Lions’ defenders before striking the ball past goalkeeper Jordan Gnolfo.
“I’ve talked to her about having confidence moving forward, because she’s obviously super fast,” Edwards said. “That was an unbelievable run. She started at midfield, beat a couple players and had a great finish. I told the players at halftime, everybody has to make runs like that.”
Gant, mostly known for her defensive exploits, was a second team all-conference player last season despite not being an offensive threat.
“She is a tenuous defender who keeps us in games,” Edwards said.
Just before the halftime break, Lindenwood was able to tie the game.
Danielle Torry scored her first goal of the season for the Lions in the 43rd minute as Western was unable to clear a ball played into the box by Jackie Linder, and Torry was able to sneak the ball past Griffon star keeper Sarah Lyle.
In the second half, Western got back on the attack and pressured the Lindenwood defense relentlessly early in the half.
“I love the response after they scored,” Edwards said. “We gave ourselves some chances to score and we figured some stuff out offensively.”
All of that attacking finally paid of in the 72nd minute, as Sydney Cluck connected with Bailey Dervin who put the ball in the back of the net for the eventual winner.
“That was a great goal,” Edwards said. “The game-winning goal was one of the best goals we’ve scored.”
Seeing Dervin have that moment was special for Edwards because of all the adversity Dervin has overcome.
“Bailey suffered a horrific injury last September,” Edwards said. “This is a special weekend for her, because she was in the hospital and here she is scoring the game-winning goal. She was told she potentially might never play again and then to come back a year later and score the game-winning goal… Pretty cool.”
Western used its strong defense and the talents of Lyle to hold on to the win.
Lyle came up with her biggest stop of the day on a shot in the 87th minute off the foot of Taylor Robinson.
“Pretty nerve-racking there at the end,” Edwards said. “Sarah had an unbelievable save.”
The team is in Oklahoma for their first two conference contests next weekend against Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State, but returns home on Friday, Oct. 2, when they face Missouri Southern.

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