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Upper Dublin, Springfield-Montco play to scoreless tie

Upper Dublin’s Lauren Greene drives along the sideline as Springfield’s Brigid Roy defends during their game on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media

UPPER DUBLIN >> Neither Upper Dublin or Springfield-Montco could find the back of the cage in the first half Monday afternoon at Upper Dublin High School.

The Suburban One League American Conference rivals remained scoreless at the end of regulation.

When the final horn sounded at the completion of the 15-minute overtime period, the scoreboard still showed zeroes.

The Cardinals and the Spartans played to a scoreless tie.

Springfield’s Annie Ryan control the ball between Upper Dublin’s Jenn McCarny and Lauren Greene during their game on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Each team had opportunities to win the game.

The Cardinals (4-3-1, 3-3-1 conference) earned a penalty corner in the final moments of regulation. They took four consecutive corners before Springfield was able to clear the ball out of the zone, and each time Spartans goalie Rebecca Berglund was there to make the stop.

“We had chances to finish the game in the second half,” Upper Dublin coach Heather Boyer said. “Their goalie did a phenomenal job of really blocking some shots. Their goalie had an outstanding half that second half and really blocked a lot of quality shots and opportunities. Sometimes you just can’t find the back of the cage, but I was proud of my girls for the resilience they showed in the overtime.”

Upper Dublin tried a few different plays during the series of corners. The hosts tried to score directly off the insert pass and by making multiple passes once the ball was in play, but Springfield was up for the challenge of keeping them off the board.

Upper Dublin’s Jenn McCarny reaches to push the ball past Springfield goaltender Rebecca Berglund during their game on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“We usually do first string and second string on defense,” Springfield sweeper Annie Ryan said. “If one person gets beat, the next line steps up. The first line got beat and we were able to recover for the next people and we used that overlap throughout each corner and we were able to eventually get it out.”

The Spartans (6-2-1, 4-2-1) best scoring chance came late in the overtime period. They had a three-on-one opportunity in front of Upper Dublin’s cage. The pass got past the lone defender, but goalie Meghan Muth stepped out to kick the ball away. Moments later, she had to make another save to keep the game scoreless.

“Meghan stayed very composed back there,” Boyer said. “She came out when she needed to, saved some good shots on goal when she needed to and kept their opportunities at bay.”

Upper Dublin didn’t have many offensive opportunities in the first half, but made adjustments. After putting no shots on net in the first half, the Cardinals managed six in the second.

Upper Dublin’s Maisie Hanson works the ball up field as Springfield’s Maddie Yoder defends during their game on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“We talked at the timeout at the end of the first half about spreading out and being smarter with our passes and really utilizing space that way to eliminate their defenders instead of trying to carry the ball more,” Boyer said. “That seemed to turn a corner going into the half, then we talked about it more — the best way to displace their defense is to pass around them. We were really trying to do that and turn the intensity level up, and they did.”

Springfield finished with five shots on net, but weren’t able to get the game-winner into the back of the cage.

“We use a lot of going down to the end-line and from the outside and bringing it in,” Ryan said. “We didn’t complete our passes and keep our sticks down. Every turf is different. This is new turf. We had a couple slips and falls, but we’re hoping we’ll grow with our stick-work throughout the season.”

Both teams are in good position for the District 1 playoffs. They both receive points for earning a tie. Upper Dublin entered Monday No. 9 in the District 1 Class 2A rankings. Springfield was No. 2 in Class A.

Springfield’s Kaelen Lozcalzo reaches for a pass as Upper Dublin’s Mikayla DeMichele defends during their game on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“You get five points for a win and two-and-a-half points for a tie,” Boyer said. “I guess in a way it’s a win-win for both of us today. It gets to a certain points in games like this where you sort of don’t want to see a loser because it’s played well.”

The teams will meet again later in the season for Springfield’s Senior Night.

“We’re grateful that it’s not a loss,” Ryan said, “but we are always looking for a win. We’re excited to face them again for our Senior Night and to improve and to see them again to see how they improve.”

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