Lynch, defense lift No. 3 Gilbert girls past No. 9 Nevada; Tigers win rivalry game, 1-0

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Gilbert's Sydney Lynch tries to get by Nevada's Hannah Thomsen on her way to the goal during the first half of the No. 3 (1A) Tigers' 1-0 victory over No. 9 Nevada Thursday at the SCORE Athletic Complex in Nevada. Lynch scored the game's only goal.

NEVADA – Gilbert senior Emma Bulman was a little nervous. 

With eight minutes left in the Class 1A girls’ soccer showdown between third-ranked Gilbert and ninth-ranked Nevada, the Tiger keeper was barking at her teammates to get in position to defend a Cub corner kick. 

Gilbert was clinging to a one-goal lead and desperately wanted to prevent Nevada from tying the game in the final minutes to likely extend the game into overtime. Bulman helped get her team lined up when Nevada’s Tori Meinecke delivered a perfect ball in front of the net. 

Bulman had to rush out, leap in the air and knock the ball away just before a Cub player could get there. Bulman then hustled back to the net in time to see her teammates recover and clear the ball. 

“When the ball hit the ground I was kind of freaking out,” Bulman said. “We let it drop, but we were physical and just with it and got it out. We did so good — I was really happy when that was over.” 

Nevada got off a couple more good looks in the frantic final minutes of the game. But that was as close as the Cubs got to putting one through the net in a 1-0 Gilbert victory at the SCORE Athletic Complex. 

“It’s definitely one of our fiercest rivals,” Bulman said. “Something about playing Nevada really gets us going. Danny (Jones) was really pushing us — we really wanted this one.” 

The only goal of the game came just over 14 minutes into the first half. Speedy Tiger forward Sydney Lynch took a great ball from Bella Saad, outraced the Cub defense and fired one toward the net that made it past Nevada keeper Addi Vorm. 

“It was just a great through ball by Bella,” Lynch said. “I really just poked it out and just hoped it went in. It was a great finish to a good play.” 

Lynch’s goal was critical. Gilbert didn’t have that much success getting quality looks the rest of the night. 

“I knew I had to step up and try to put one in for my team,” Lynch said. “It was going to be a close game, so I had to finish on any shot I could.” 

Fortunately for Lynch and the offense, the Gilbert midfield and defense were on point for most of the night, enabling the Tigers to improve to 4-3 overall. 

“Our defense did a really good job of forcing them outside and keeping everything safe,” Bulman said. “They did a really good job of protecting me tonight.” 

The Tigers were especially tough in the final minutes. Nevada really turned up the pressure over the final 15 minutes getting off multiple shots, including a nice cross with four minutes left that was snared by Bulman. 

Nevada's Isabelle Nelson makes her way toward the goal against tight defense by Gilbert's Keara O'Brien during the final minutes of the Cubs' 1-0 loss to the Tigers Thursday in Nevada.

“We’ve just got to play with a more concentrated effort for a whole game instead of 15 minutes,” Nevada head coach Randy Davis said. “We maybe changed a formation in there and pushed harder, but we’ve got to be better for the whole game.” 

The loss was the Cubs’ third in a row as they dropped to 3-4 on the season. Nevada also fell to an Adel-Desoto-Minburn team ranked 10th in 2A by a 1-0 score on Wednesday and to a North Polk squad rated fourth in 2A by a 3-1 margin last Friday. 

But Davis was encouraged by the way his team played in the final minutes against Gilbert. 

“When you see what we do for 15 minutes and turn that around and play that way the whole game it’s a whole different ballgame,” Davis said. “It’s just getting that final stage. We’ve just got to put the connections together as a team. We’ll get there.” 

Gilbert 1, Nevada 0 

G    1   0 – 1 

N    0   0 – 0 

Scoring 

First half 

G – Sydney Lynch (Bella Saad), 14:05.