HORSHAM >> It looked like a soccer version of a “four verticals” play.
Central Bucks West lined up with four attacking players on the right side of the field at the start of the second half of its girls soccer match at Hatboro-Horsham on Monday. All four sped up the field as the Bucks threw a lot of numbers up in a hurry and it paid off, with Trish Hauck knocking in the game’s first goal 22 seconds later.
It was just the spark CB West needed and the Bucks ripped off three goals in 15 minutes to claim a 3-0 win in their SOL crossover game.
“We needed to connect the easy passes, which we weren’t doing in the first half,” West senior Allie Walsh said. “Doing that got us more chances up top.”
The first half saw minimal chances on both sides, though the hosts certainly had the two best opportunities. Hatboro-Horsham (3-3-0, 3-1-0 SOL American) wanted to play over West’s high defensive line and early in the first half, got what it was trying for.
Kara Thomas found herself behind the back line with the ball, but her shot hit Bucks’ freshman keeper Jenna Abaza. Another run behind the line by Cam Hughes fizzled out later in the half, leaving the Hatters 0-for-2 prior to halftime.
So when Sam Lubin found Hauck in a mass of bodies in the box, it made those misses loom much larger.
“When you give up a goal right off the kickoff, it just sucks the life right out of your team,” Hatters coach Ike Onyeador said. “The next two goals go in, that can happen in any game but it just pushes you down further and further. It’s the first goal that did us in and the reality is, we could have taken care of this game in the first half.”
West’s issue in the first half stemmed mostly from its speed of play. More specifically, it’s over-speed of play. The Bucks (4-3-0, 1-3-0 SOL Continental) played well when they were able to play short passes and find the feet of teammates, but for much of the first half, they were playing the ball too fast.
“We needed to shot, we weren’t doing that in the first half,” Lubin said. “We used to play back and it didn’t work out for us, so we decided to start going forward.”
The Bucks’ unusual starting formation in the second half was very, very new.
“We practiced that yesterday and executed it today,” Walsh said. “It worked out in our favor.”
Hauck scored 22 seconds into the second half, then Alex Craine made it a 2-0 game three minutes later when she collected the ball on the right wing after a short corner kick clearance. Craine fired the ball back in and put it on target for a well-taken and well-finished tally.
Walsh finished the scoring with 25:49 left in the game when she blasted a 25-yard free kick off the left flank to the far post.
“We wanted to keep up the pressure,” Walsh said. “After the first half, we knew we had chances we didn’t finish so we wanted to come out strong in the second half and score some goals.”
Lubin called the result a much-needed win, as it snapped a three-game losing streak for the Bucks ahead of a major SOL Continental match with Pennridge.
“We have a lot more positive energy surrounding the team,” Walsh said. “Our leadership has stepped up from the seniors to the captains, everyone has taken a positive role.”
Hatboro-Horsham also has a big game on Tuesday when Plymouth Whitemarsh visits. Both the Hatters and Colonials are a game behind SOL American leader Upper Dublin so both need the win to try and keep pace. The Hatters play Upper Dublin next week while PW lost its first meeting with the Cardinals.
Onyeador said the only thing his team should take from Monday’s loss is the value of finishing chances.
“We’re usually the better team possession-wise in every single match we play in, yet we don’t capitalize,” Onyeador said. “We didn’t take our opportunities, we let goals in and it just sucked our mentality out of the game.”
CENTRAL BUCKS WEST 3, HATBORO-HORSHAM 0
CENTRAL BUCKS WEST 0 3 – 3
HATBORO-HORSHAM 0 0 – 0
Goals: CBW – Trish Hauck (Sam Lubin), Alex Craine, Allie Walsh.
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