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Plymouth Whitemarsh blanks Wissahickon, stays perfect in SOL American

Plymouth Whitemarsh's Sophie Kolkka dribbles upfield during the Colonials' game against Wissahickon on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

WHITEMARSH >> After taking a two-goal lead early in the second half, Plymouth Whitemarsh coach Charise Halteman shouted, “Next five! Next five!” at her team.

Just over six minutes later, the Colonials scored again and were on their way to a 4-0 Suburban One League American Conference win over Wissahickon Monday at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.

“It’s something I stress with these kids,” Halteman said. “As soon as there’s a momentum change in the game — whether it’s a goal scored against us or for us — the next five minutes of the game are probably the next most important moments of the game because you have to either hold your lead or you have to turn it around and show you can score on the other team. That’s been a motto for our team every time a goal has been scored — it’s the next five minutes that we have to take care of. We can’t just sit back.”

Sam Spera gave the Colonials (12-1-0, 10-0-0) a 1-0 lead late in the first half and Ava Borkowski extended it to 2-0 just over eight minutes after intermission.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Kennedy Reardon passes the ball as Wissahickon’s Grace Ball defends during their game on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Kaleigh Missimer scored just after the crucial five-minute stretch with a put-back after a Spera shot was stopped.

“The thing our coach always says is just keep the ball moving, transferring the ball well,” Spera said of the offensive success. “I think we really executed well in that. Just look for who’s open and keep passing the ball and looking for our opportunities.”

That ball movement was on display when Spera scored her second and the team’s final goal with seven minutes left in the game. She took a corner and passed to Jess Dixon, who sent it right back to Spera to the left of the cage and she knocked it home for an easy score.

“As the ball comes in, forwards — we want to do everything we can to just finish that shot and just be ruthless with the ball,” Spera said.

Wissahickon never really got into an offensive rhythm. The visitors managed just six shots on goal and weren’t able to capitalize on any opportunities.

“The team that showed up today isn’t the team that we are,” Trojans coach Lucy Gil said. “We were trying to figure that out just now in our (postgame) team meeting. We were a little panicked and a little all over the place. It seemed like we weren’t getting down to our playing style and our way of doing things. In that sense, PW did a really good job of getting us off our game. They weren’t themselves. I know my team can play better than this.”

Wissahickon’s Sammi Pak prepares to pass the ball as Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Sophie Kolkka reaches in to knock the ball away during their game on Monday, October 2, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Plymouth Whitemarsh moves to a perfect 10-0 in SOL American play after tallying its second win over Wissahickon — the first a 1-0 win last month. The Colonials are at the top of the league standings and entered this week No. 5 in the most recent District 1 Class-3A unofficial power rankings.

“We have a big week in terms of Springfield Wednesday and Upper Dublin Friday,” Halteman said. “Some of these teams have beaten each other so we knew it was important for us to take one game at a time and having another shutout is great for us. I’m really proud of the kids.”

The Trojans fall to 7-4 overall and 6-3 in league play. They were No. 21 in the power rankings. The top 24 team make the playoffs.

“I don’t think this year was about (districts) ever for us,” Gil said. “It’s our first year back and we’re developing a team … We’re looking to improve the team and develop them as a whole moving forward. I don’t know if we’ll make districts. It doesn’t matter to us. It’s not a big thing.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh 4, Wissahickon 0
Wissahickon                   0 0 — 0
Plymouth Whitemarsh 1 3 — 4
Goals: PW: Sam Spera 2, Ava Borkowski, Kaleigh Missimer.
Assists: PW: Sam Spera, Jess Dixon.
Saves: W: Meghan Reilly 14. PW: Katherine Houghton 6.

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