In the case of Norwalk girls soccer head coach Michelle Sandor, a worried internal voice was screaming almost instantly.
With less than five minutes before the start of Wednesday’s non-league match vs. Edison, junior goalkeeper Makaila White was holding her injured hand.
Suddenly forced to replace her starting goalkeeper, Sandor had minutes to completely reshuffle her lineup — where she turned to Thomas, a freshman, to rush into the net.
“As soon as I saw Makaila was coming out, I thought ‘Oh no,’” Thomas said. “It took me a second, but I told myself I could do it. .. I told myself, ’you got this.”
Thomas passed with flying colors, bolstered by a strong defense and the continued scoring prowess of Nyah Daniels in a 7-1 win over the visiting Chargers at the Norwalk Soccer Complex.
Thomas allowed one goal and turned away four others as the Truckers improved to 2-1 on the young season.
White took a ball off her index finger in the closing moments of warmups.
“It’s something I’ve thought through if it ever happened, but to have it happen that quickly — it was kind of a controlled panic on who would play where,” Sandor said. “We knew Joscey would be the person we went to, but we had to figure out where to shift everyone around from there.”
Thomas last played goalie in the spring while playing for the Huron County Youth Soccer Club travel soccer team.
“I tried my best. I was a little nervous and kind of scared,” she said. “But I’ve played goalie before, so I was just trying to stay positive and do what’s best for my team.”
Meanwhile, Daniels had another monster day in finding the back of the net for the Truckers.
The sophomore scored the first of five goals just 2:13 into the match, then made it 2-0 just two minutes later at the 35-minute mark of the first half.
After Edison got on the board to trim the deficit to 2-1 with a nice goal by Aliyah Caporini, it was all Norwalk.
Quinn Jaworski put the Truckers up 3-1 at the 27:28 mark of the half, then Daniels (18:17) and Summer Moehlman (16:10) found the back of the net for a 5-1 lead.
In the second half, Daniels scored at the 28:03 mark, while Gwen Olcott closed out the scoring with 17:10 left.
“Nyah did a great job tonight. We’re really trying to work on her accuracy and knowing the right time to pass and the right time to shoot,” Sandor said of Daniels. “We don’t want to take away her amazing desire to go to the net, but also realizing when to make those good decisions, which comes with maturity. And we’re watching her mature before our eyes every single day.”
Sandor was also impressed with Thomas, given the entire situation and how it played out with White’s injury.
“As soon as we got into the team huddle, she was vocal, ‘We got this guys. Let’s go.’ Joscey was confident and played the role really well even though I know she was a little scared going into it,” Sandor said. “That’s a big role to step into in that situation.”
Sandor said they are cautiously optimistic on White’s status moving forward.
“I think she’s OK, we don’t think it’s broken,” she said. “It’s really swollen right now, so we’re hoping it’s just a sprained index finger. We’ll see what it looks like (today) and go from there.”
Norwalk is off until Monday when it opens SBC Lake Division play with a road match at Sandusky. Edison (0-1-1) will also play next on Monday when it entertains Huron in SBC Bay action.