Garfield sophomore Kellyn Bartlett-Habeger takes a shot on the goal during Wednesday night’s soccer match against the Brookfield Warriors at Garfield High School.
GARRETTSVILLE — The G-Men never hung their heads.
After falling behind by two goals, and having endured a scoreless 220-plus minutes of soccer to start the season, Garfield certainly could have.
Instead, with the G-Men needing their first goal of the season — their first two goals, to be precise — junior Aby Seiler and sophomore Kellyn Bartlett-Habeger responded with the first goals of their high school careers.
Just like that, Garfield, before a frenetic crowd at JAG Field, earned a 2-2 tie with visiting Brookfield in Wednesday’s Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference thriller.
“I’m just happy with the fight and you could hear the emotion,” G-Men coach Aaron Gilbert said. “You could feel that joy come out of them when that final buzzer went off.”
Young Garfield continues to build confidence
All evening long, the G-Men (0-2-1, 0-1-1) had been building toward an equalizer.
After Brookfield put an array of shots on frame in the opening minutes, including Madisyn Fisher hammering a rebound home in the fourth minute, Garfield got better as the first half progressed.
Garfield sophomore Camille Arana watches for the throw-in during Wednesday night’s soccer match against the Brookfield Warriors at Garfield High School.
With a roster full of freshmen and sophomores, the G-Men really got going after the intermission, firing six shots in the opening 10:20 of the second half.
Still, Garfield couldn’t find that elusive first goal of the season, and when Brookfield senior Cadence Huffman lined a free kick into the back of the net in the 61st minute, a third straight defeat seemed probable for the G-Men.
A team that hadn’t scored in more than 220 minutes would have to score twice in less than 20 minutes.
How did the G-Men find the strength?
Per Gilbert and Seiler, it began with a strong first half in their prior game against Crestview.
“We had a really, really good first half [against Crestview] and we knew we wanted to have that mentality,” Seiler said. “We used the positivity and it helped a lot, which is something I believe in completely is the more positivity the team has, the better we’re going to do, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Aby Seiler, Kellyn Bartlett-Haberger spark Garfield rally
Garfield junior Aby Seiler fires a shot at the goal during Wednesday night’s soccer match against the Brookfield Warriors at Garfield High School.
Less than two minutes after the Warriors took a two-goal lead, Seiler provided hope for the home team, intercepting a Brookfield goal kick, racing to the net and scoring on a breakaway.
“I almost cried tears of joy,” Seiler said. “I was so excited because that’s my first goal I’ve ever actually made with the team.”
After a key 70th-minute save by freshman keeper Ruby Price kept the G-Men in it, they broke through for the equalizer in the 78th minute.
Bartlett-Habeger had proven to be a dangerous attacker throughout the evening with a couple of nice runs. Her hustle finally paid off with a little over two minutes remaining when she found space on the back side of the defense, took a couple of dribbles and slotted the game-tying goal past the drawn-out keeper.
“The equalizer was beautiful,” Gilbert said. “We kept telling them they were playing that flat four, so we were just trying to play a through ball and then try to cross it because we’ve got people running at the goal, and then Kellyn has, I mean God, there’s 24 feet of goal and 24 feet was open.”
Garfield sophomore Kellyn Bartlett-Habeger battles for the ball with a Brookfield defender during Wednesday night’s soccer match against the Brookfield Warriors at Garfield High School.
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Aby Seiler, Kellyn Bartlett-Habeger lead Garfield girls soccer rally