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Neshaminy girls soccer peaking at the right time

Neshaminy senior Nicole Palmer (11) goes all out for save in win over Council Rock South. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)

LANGHORNE – What is good news for Neshaminy girls soccer fans spells bad news for all their opponents. With district playoffs right around the corner, Neshaminy is peaking and playing its best soccer of the season.

Kristin Curley, sophomore forward, hoped this would be the case from the start of the season. “Our goal this year was to just make it back to the playoffs and see where we go from there. We wanted to play our best soccer toward the end of this season and go from there.”

The plan of action certainly worked. After a tough 3-1 loss to Pennsbury, Neshaminy caught fire. First up was an always tough Council Rock North team. In Kristin’s estimation, “A turning point was last Thursday’s game when we played Council Rock North. We won 2-0. We played really well.”

The victory over the Indians sparked a three-game win streak that saw Neshaminy defeat Harry Truman 8-0, Archbishop Wood 3-0 and Council Rock South 1-0. “Right now, we have three wins (in the Suburban One League) going forward into our game against Downingtown West. If we get a win tomorrow we will really hit the ground running for the playoffs. That’s what we really want to do, move ourselves forward into playoffs. Generating that win would end the regular season on a positive note.”

Of all the recent victories, the Council Rock South game loomed largest for Neshaminy. The Golden Hawks entered the game boasting a 10-0-1 record. Their only slight blemish was a 0-0 double overtime tie with Pennsbury. Neshaminy entered the contest with a 7-3 record. They sensed any playoff hopes depended on this game.

Kristin summed up Neshaminy’s predicament. “That was an incredibly important game for us. That game determined if we did or did not make playoffs. Everyone knew that going in. So that’s where all our energy came from. All the pressure meant we’d be in a worst position to make playoffs if we didn’t win.”

Neshaminy knew they needed to battle for every possession. “Against South, we just knew we had to work for each other, win all 50-50 balls, play with high intensity and don’t let them get any transitions. We wanted to possess the ball at midfield.”

Kristin knew playing together would be no problem for Neshaminy. “This year’s team is absolutely incredible. All the girls work together for each other. When one person gets beat, there is another person right behind them. That comes with bonding on and off the field. We have such a high respect for each other. We want to do well for each other not just ourselves.”

The team chemistry paid off when Neshaminy found the back of the Golden Hawks’ net midway through the second period. Kristin will long remember the moment. “We had a free kick on the right side of the field. Our outside right midfielder, Jackie Ziegler, played the ball on the ground through the box and I was just in the right spot at the right time and ran through the ball.”

Though minimizing her own effort, Kristin was doing exactly what her position demands. “Right now, I am a forward but we have bounced back and forth. Right now, I’m a forward and my job is to get the ball in the net.”

Down 1-0, the Hawks staged a furious comeback. The entire Neshaminy defense rose to the occasion. Neshaminy goalie Riley Spingler reeled off five saves. As for Kristin, she knew her defensive assignment. “Pressuring the other team’s back line is a big thing for a forward. I have to pressure their backline so they can’t get an easy ball upfield.”

The 1-0 score held up, sparking a celebration on the Neshaminy sideline. “After the game, it was incredible. There was a huge relief knowing we have a spot in the playoffs and we took the game away from CR South. That was their first loss in the SOL.”

All Neshaminy’s opponents should take note, the girls soccer team is on a roll.

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