BIRDSBORO>> At the close of the Berks League girls’ soccer season, absolutely nothing has separated the Governor Mifflin Mustangs from the Daniel Boone Blazers.
With the top spot in Berks Section 1 on the line Tuesday night, the Mustangs and Blazers battled to a 1-1 draw — an identical score to the match played on Sept 29 in Shillington.
Mifflin (15-0-2 overall) and Boone (12-1-2) share the Berks 1 regular season crown with identical 8-0-2 league marks — the only ties, of course, coming against each other. The Mustangs, finishing their slate unbeaten in 17 matches, earned top seeding for the upcoming league playoffs thanks to a higher power ranking assigned by District 3.
Governor Mifflin had been able to throttle all comers this season — that is, except for John Pantone’s Blazers.
“Two great teams get together and they play, this is what you get,” Pantone said, referencing Tuesday’s mirrored account of what went down back on Sept. 29. “We wanted to win the division. That was our goal. Boone hasn’t done that in modern history, so far as I know. I don’t that on the banner in the gym.”
For Mifflin, a second tie in 15 days with Boone did not render the desired result, considering the way the way the Mustangs carried play — especially during the opening 40 minutes. Mifflin generated the first five shots on goal in the contest, while holding the Blazers shotless until the 57th minute.
“I thought we had the better of the possession,” Mifflin head coach Ed Deren said, “and would be able to create opportunity. We didn’t find the last pass. We had far more opportunities, but once again, their goalie (Makenzie Witzel) stoned us. She had a great game.
“I don’t we’ll pull away from them (Boone). They’re a very good team. I just think that we have to find that last pass. When you don’t create, that’s when you worry. We outshot them, we outplayed them. But here we are again.”
Tuesday’s encounter was scoreless until 8:48 remained in regulation, when Kayleigh Kardos put Boone on top with a boot from roughly six yards out that eluded a diving Kyra Hartman and nestled in the lower left corner of the net.
Mifflin tied the contest late, with 2:57 to play. Mel Martin’s drive from the right-hand side of the area found a tangle in front the goal mouth before somehow trickling past Witzel. Witzel was forced to make eight saves on nine attempts, as Mifflin’s link-up play proved stronger throughout most of the match. But Boone’s back line and set-piece defense was solid in retaliation.
“It was tough seeing that goal go in, yeah,” Pantone admitted. “But I’m can’t be more proud of these girls.”
Both teams fought through two overtime sessions that were devoid of strong scoring chances.
Boone’s defensive effort was impressive one night after losing key center midfielder Julia Bookwalter to a torn ACL against Twin Valley. Bookwalter is out for the season. Marissa Stevenson, who assisted on Boone’s lone goal, moved to Bookwalter’s spot.
“That’s our style of game,” Pantone said. “We play sound defense and then try to catch teams in transition. We allow a team to possess around us, but we play sound with a pack. We don’t get pulled apart and it works well for us.
“We’re very strong in the air. Mifflin’s very strong in the air. You have two strong, tall teams trying to win those head balls. Defensively, they did a pretty good job on us, too.”
Boone conceded the fewest goals during the Berks League regular season, with just eight against in 15 matches.
Mifflin led in shots on goal 9-3 and corners 7-3.
Governor Mifflin — 0 1 0 0 — 1
Daniel Boone — 0 1 0 0 — 1
DB – Kayleigh Kardos (Marissa Stevenson), 8:48
GM – Melissa Martin (ua), 2:57
Shots on goal
DB 3, GM 9
DB 3, GM 7
DB (Makenzie Witzel) 8, GM Kyra Hartman 2