Hamilton did everything short of tying its showdown match with Pinnacle in the second half Monday night with just less than 10 minutes left. But then one of Pinnacle's few second-half chances was converted and the outcome sealed.
Pinnacle forward Jorian Baucom scored her second goal of the night in the 73rd minute and it deflated and disarmed Hamilton's comeback bid in a 3-1 win for the visiting Lady Pioneers in a matchup of Division I girls soccer powers.
Only a couple minutes earlier Hamilton's Riana Metzger fed McKaya Brown who had a beeline on a shot from 10- to 12-yards out. Brown, who assisted on Hamilton's only goal in the first half, had her shot deflected by the quick reaction of Pinnacle keeper Jalen Tompkins, one of nine saves for the Pioneers' standout keeper. That preserved Pinnacle's 2-1 lead it was pressed to hold on to nearly the entire second half as Hamiilton turned up the heat the final 25 minutes or so seeking the tying goal.
"My heart dropped," Pinnacle coach Suzanne Kirchner said after watching her keeper's big-time save. "This is a great team. They play to the end. JJ (Tompkins) made a great save. They were coming at us hard."
Pinnacle improved its record to 10-2-3 overall and more importantly to 5-0 in power-point matches. That's all that remains for team this month and they'll get a chance to to see where they stand in their respective power-rankings for the first time on Thursday this week.
Hamilton (11-4-1 overall, 5-1 in ppm) fell behind in the 17th minute. Baucom's first goal of the game found the back of the net with an assist from Amanda Dodd. Pinnacle dominated play the first half of the first half, but Hamilton got a run from Brown that ended with a nice cross to Jaimie Salas who finished to tie the match at 1 in the 23rd minute. Brown got another chance four minutes later, but her shot deep in the box sailed wide right.
As innocently as Hamilton tied the match, Pinnacle answered in kind in the 35th minute to lead for good at 2-1. Baucom dribbled in traffic in the box and then nudged a touch pass to hard-charging teammate Gabriela Stoian who converted easily in the left corner of the net. Baucom and Stoian have scored 25 of Pinnacle's 35 goals this season.
"There's a saying of soccer coaches, 'We love to hate the game'," Hamilton coach Mark Eggleston said. "We had a lot of opportunities. Created a lot of them. But you either capitalize or you don't. They didn't get many chances in the second half, but they got the one late and converted it."
Hamilton escaped trouble early in the second half. Pinnacle had two corner kicks and picked ip a penalty kick for a hand ball in the box. The PK attempt by Stoian hit the cross bar. Pinnacle was pretty much silent the rest of the match until Baucom gave it breating room in the final minutes.
"Our girls know how to move it around," Kirchner said. "They (Baucom and Stoian) have scored a lot of our goals. They are good at finishing....."
"We've played a lot of tough teams andstill have more left to play.There are a lot of teams good enough to win. We were rested and fresh today. That helped."