SPRINGDALE – Three second-half goals, including two from junior midfielder Karla Torres, were enough to lead the Bowie High School girls soccer team to victory over a competitive Charles H. Flowers team in the second round of the state playoffs on Oct. 26.
The No. 3 Bulldogs (8-5) jumped out to an early two-goal lead thanks to the play of freshman Saany Perry, who scored off a defensive error in the first three minutes of the match. In the 13th minute, Perry scored again by using her speed to outrun the Jaguar defense before firing a shot into the goal net.
However, No. 2 Flowers (7-5) bounced back right away, as a free kick opportunity bounced off of midfielder Beulah Odiong’s hip and found striker Candice Pual for the quick score in the 16th minute. Pual responded again when she used her speed to overwhelm the Bowie defense before releasing a floating shot to tie the game.
Coming out of the halftime period, Bowie Head Coach Vincent Stewart reemphasized playing a pass-heavy style while relying on his upperclassmen to take over the game. Torres quickly fired a one-time left-footed volley across her body to beat an outstretched Deborah Olorunyemi to reclaim the lead.
The junior continued using her fancy footwork to frustrate the Flowers defense until a foul in the penalty area gave Bowie a penalty kick. Torres stepped up again, hitting a low, left-post shot for her second goal of the game.
Flowers did not give up, continuing to press forward with counterattacks with Pual and fellow striker Trinity Bissahoyo. After multiple attempts, Bissahoyo finally broke free and released a right-footed shot to reduce Flowers’ deficit to one goal with 13 minutes remaining.
However, during a corner kick situation, center back Victoria Ajegwu tapped in a loose ball for a game-clinching goal, solidifying Bowie’s spot into the next round of the state playoffs.
“We need to keep our heads straight for the full 90 minutes,” Torres said. “Games like these playoff games, and some regular season games, go down to the last minute. You can’t put your head down; You have to keep going until the very last minute.”
With the victory, Bowie moves on the Region II finals to take on No. 1 Eleanor Roosevelt with a berth to the state quarterfinals on the line.