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Striker’s mentality lifts Lawton, Upper Dublin past Wissahickon in OT

UPPER DUBLIN >> A good striker’s memory is like the one in the urban legend about goldfish, as in really, really short.

A goal scored gets celebrated for a couple seconds, then wiped blank as the striker immediately wants another. Likewise, a miss has no place lingering around the memory banks, as it only gets in the way of the next chance.

Friday afternoon, Upper Dublin sophomore Sizzy Lawtown left the field at the end of regulation wiping a miss out of her mind. The, 39 seconds later, she got another chance and like a good striker, took the new life and buried it.

Gene Walsh — Digital First Media Upper Dublin’s Sizzy Lawton battles Wissahickon’s Anna Wilde for possession October 7, 2016.

Upper Dublin’’s Sizzy Lawton battles Wissahickon’’s Anna Wilde for possession during their game on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Lawton’s tally provided the winning margin in the Flying Cardinals’ 3-2 overtime win over visiting Wissahickon in yet another typical meeting between the neighborhood rivals.

“I was really frustrated with not getting my shot off early enough, so I was told to shoot early,” Lawton said. “I thought I was offside at first, but I just took one touch and then shot it and saw it go over (their keeper).”

Both teams had their chances, Upper Dublin generating attack mainly through its pace up top and on the flanks and Wissahickon bombarding the UD box with free kicks and corners. The Trojans had nine corners, and while they got a goal off one, the production didn’t measure up to the chances.

Much of that was due in part to Upper Dublin’s defending and goalkeeper Devon Jones, with most balls in the box getting blocked, knocked down, headed and eventually cleared out. At the same time, they were there for Wiss, who just didn’t finish.

“It’s the story of our life if you look back at our stat book this year,” Wiss coach Shannon Creamer-Franke said. “We’ve been really successful at getting ourselves corners but we have not been successful at capitalizing on them. It’s something we’ve been working on in practice and hopefully we can straighten that out.”

Wissahickon scored first when Alexis Smith buried a looping cross from Jasmine Bishop with the Cardinals defense slow to react. It was one of the unit’s few poor moments, but their attack was able to make up for the lapse a bit later in the half.

The second Trojans goal, a volley by Emily Vervlied after a corner kick service was cleared out to her, was just a great effort the back line couldn’t do anything about. Other than that, the Cardinals were aggressive and determined to defend.

“We just have such a rivalry with them and me, being a senior and this being our last game playing them, we wanted to come out here and dominate and show what we were about,” UD senior defender Shannon Haig said. “We needed to take the ball out of the air. If they dropped, Maddie Elwell would come and she would barrel through us, so we had to get it out as quick as we could.”

UD achieved the rare feat this season of holding Elwell, the dynamic Wissahickon senior, without a goal. Haig, who had a strong tackle on Elwell in the first half, and her mates on defense were key to limiting Elwell’s shots to efforts from outside the box.

Conceding corners isn’t always the best alternative, but Friday it proved a sound strategy with the way the Cardinals were able to clear the ball. Erin O’ Brien, Sascha Keitz and Katie King on the back line with Haig, along with Lexi Schneider and Tina Haig in the center midfield, did their jobs well.

Gene Walsh — Digital First Media Wissahickon’s Jasmine Bishop passes the ball as Upper Dublin’s Emily Booth defends October 7, 2016.

Wissahickon’’s Jasmine Bishop passes the ball as Upper Dublin’’s Emily Booth defends during their game on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“We had to cover each other,” Haig said. “If one of us got beat, instantaneously we had to cover (Elwell) and for each other. We played like a team today and that’s what helped us win.”

Sizzy Lawton helped set up the Cardinals’ first goal when she played older sister Paige with a perfectly weighted through ball that allowed the elder Lawton to bury the shot. A couple minutes later, the Cardinals would cash in off a Schneider corner when a Wissahickon player knocked the service out to Lindsey Schreiber, who volleyed it back into the net.

UD took the 2-1 lead to the break, then saw Vervlied equalize about four minutes into the second half. From there, both teams tried to break through but neither could. The Cardinals stopped connecting passes and doing what had led to their chances for stretches of the second half.

“Early in the game, we had some nice spells of possession, short passing and all that,” Topper said. “As we went on in the game and started to lose legs, we were still trying to be a little bit too pretty. Once we were able to execute and get the ball out wide, we were able to put their backs under some pressure.”

The Cardinals came back to life at the end of regulation, with Tori Hoffner and Lawton each getting in close only to be denied by Wiss keeper Nicole Hastings, who also had a very strong game. Hastings played UD’s speed well, coming off her line before Lawton or Hoffner could shoot and gave her team a lift with the couple of stops right before the regulation whistle.

“Just like when you score, when you get a big save like that, it’s definitely uplifting,” Creamer-Franke said. “It was unfortunate that going into overtime they got that breakaway and we weren’t even able to capitalize on the big saves Nicole had.”

The Lawtowns flipped roles on the winner, with Paige sending her sister in alone. This time there were no unnecessary touches, just one followed by a ball sailing into the net.

“Playing calm and using each other on the field helped us,” Lawton said. “We just needed the confidence from a game like this.”

WISSAHICKON 1 1 0 – 2
UPPER DUBLIN 2 0 1 – 3
Goals: W – Alexis Smith (Jasmine Bishop), Emily Vervlied; UD – Paige Lawton (Sizzy Lawton), Lindsey Schreiber (Lexi Schneider), Sizzy Lawton (Paige Lawton). Shots: W – 9; UD – 9. Corners: W – 9, UD- 3. Saves: W – Nicole Hastings 7, UD – Devon Jones 7.

Top Photo:  Wissahickon’’s Rachel Coleman and Upper Dublin’s Tina Haig battle each other for the ball during their game on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

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