LANGHORNE – Council Rock South visited Neshaminy last night unbeaten on the season. With eight wins, overall and five in the Suburban One National League (SONL), the Golden Hawks had not lost.
Facing the defending District 1 champion Lady Skins, South’s unbeaten string would be put to the test Wednesday night at Harry E. Franks Stadium.
Getting on board on a first-half goal by sophomore Jordan Rubakh and adding a second-half strike from senior Julia Goldberg, the Hawks passed the test with flying colors.
First-year CR South head coach described his team’s mentality heading into the big SONL showdown with Neshaminy.
“We preach ‘win the day. Don’t worry about what we did yesterday; don’t worry about what we might do tomorrow.’ And we found a way to do that.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere to come out here and play at Neshaminy – a team that’s a perennial power. To come out here and pick up a win, that’s huge for us.”
The Hawks pressured Skins first-half goalkeeper Vicki Smith from the start with junior Sierra Tarantino sending a blistering shot in on goal in the first minute. A few minutes later, Rubakh sent a cross over to Goldberg that the senior sent ailing over the crossbar from 15 yards out.
Thirteen minutes into the contest, Rubakh went in all alone on Smith and bounced a ball off the goalkeeper’s hands and into the back of the net, earning the Hawks their first lead in the duel.
“We preach ‘shoot the ball’ because you never know what can happen,” explained Heim. “When you put the ball on frame, anything can happen. We put the ball n frame and luckily for us, the ball bounced our way.”
Halfway through the first period, Neshaminy switched its formation in order to generate some more offense. The strategy worked with senior Fiona McDonald blasting a left-to-right shot that was the Skins first real scoring chance in the contest.
Neshaminy generated additional first-half scoring opportunities, starting with a shot by junior Michaela Boyd. A cross from junior Deanna Lebotesis to classmate Brianna Tobin also looked dangerous until Tobin was pushed off the ball just outside the left-hand side of the box. Finally, with 6:30 left in the half, a looping shot from 30 yards out by junior Brooke Mullin had eyes, though CR South keeper Emily Helmich proved equal on the save.
South also had plenty of chances to add to its lead in the first half. Smith proved equal to a shot by Rubakh off a cross from senior Paige Mikula while a free kick from the 35 yards out by senior Julie Rebh was flicked in on the goal by classmate Kiera Flanagan.
With 2:30 remaining in the first half, Rubakh pushed the ball into Smith on the right side of the goal, crashing into the keeper in the process. The ball caromed harmlessly to the right side of the goalpost, however, keeping the Skins within striking distance.
“We told them at halftime, ‘we still have 40 minutes left to play,” said Neshaminy head coach Chelsea Lovelace. “Getting one goal, it’s not that hard to get back into it – at least tie it up.
“I think we came out and played even better than we played in the first half.
“We just couldn’t find the net.”
While the Skins came through with the first scoring-chances in the second half on shots by Lebotesis and senior Jackie Ziegler, the Hawks countered with shots by senior Callie Deola and Goldberg.
Nineteen minutes into the second half, South broke through again, this time on a set piece. Getting a foot on the end of a corner kick by sophomore Sammie Jones was Goldberg, who gave the Hawks a much-needed insurance goal.
“In high school soccer, set pieces are huge,” explained Heim. “To be able to find (a goal) that gave us a little bit more breathing room was quite a relief to get that late in the second half and give us some insurance in the last 15 (minutes) or so.”
After that, Neshaminy threw everything but the kitchen sink at the visiting net and could not come up with a goal. Late-game scoring chances for the Skins included a cross by Ziegler with sophomore Gina Sexton closing, a header by Mullin and at least four shots by Ziegler including a bicycle kick she sent in on goal in the closing moments of the contest.
Jackie did great in the midfield and I thought our defense played real well,” Everybody put in the effort; it was just a little bit short of what South put in.”
Each time Ziegler took a shot, Helmich proved equal. Emily stopped eight shots on frame and gobbled up several others that could have developed into scoring chances for the home team to record her sixth shutout of the season.
“Emily is experienced; she’s a junior now and she’s a leader on this team,” stated Heim.
“We tell her all the time, ‘you have the best vision on the field.’ She’s vocal, the back line is super comfortable with her back there and she really is a rock for us.
“We’re fortunate. We have four goalies in the program that are all quality and Emily certainly is one of the best around.”
With the win, CR South pushes to 9-0, overall, 6-0 in the SONL. Neshaminy falls to 5-4-1 overall, 3-2-1 in the SONL.
The Hawks entered the game coming off a 3-0 win the day before over Bensalem on goals by Tarantino, Rubakh and Goldberg. The Lady Skins were coming off a 5-0 triumph over Truman on goals by Sexton, Emily Tantala, Lebotesis, Jackie Ziegler and Alex Ziegler.
Council Rock South 2, Neshaminy 0
(Sept. 27 at Neshaminy)
CR SOUTH (9-0, 6-0) 1 1 – 2
NESHAMINY (5-4-1, 3-2-1: SONL) 0 0 – 0
First-half Goals: CRS — Jordan Rubakh, from Sierra Tarantino, 13th minute; N — none.
Second-half Goals: CRS — Julia Goldberg, from Sammie Jones, 59th minute; N — none.
SHOTS: CRS — 8; N — 8
SAVES: CRS — Emily Helmich 8; N — Vicki Smith 5; Riley Spingler 1.