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Clinical Abington tops Plymouth Whitemarsh for share of SOL American title

Abington’s Kaleigh Serianni moves forward with the ball as Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Catie Branscome defends duirng their game on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)
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WHITEMARSH >> Casey Touey saw pretty early on there would be plenty of chances to score goals Tuesday.

The Abington sophomore scored a pair and assisted another as the Ghosts girls soccer team played clinical and efficient offensive soccer on the road at Plymouth Whitemarsh. No matter who was on the pitch, the ball moved well and found the right people in the right places all match long.

Not only did Abington get its goals, winning 9-0, but the Ghosts locked up at least a share of the Suburban One League American Conference title.

“We made sure we stayed wide and I made sure I made my diagonal runs so that it would open up the middle for other people,” Touey said. “We made sure we played the ball to feet when we could and if there was an opening to go over the top, we took it. If there was a chance to get the ball, we pressured. I’m proud of my team because we made sure we went hard all 80 minutes of the game.”

Abington’s Casey Touey races to receive a pass as Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Gabby Cooper defends during their game on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Touey got the Ghosts (12-1-0, 11-0-0 conference) going with an early shot that was expertly saved by PW keeper Devon Skiles. The sophomore striker then got up for one of those winnable balls, flicking a header into the path of senior Kaleigh Serianni, who tucked home the opening salvo.

By halftime, Arianna Mancini, Touey and Camille Muginer had all netted goals for the Ghosts, who also got assists from Cam Lexow, Abby Bautista and Elizabeth Tracey. The pace of the game really benefitted Abington, with the Colonials playing a wide-open game as well.

The scoreline didn’t flatter PW, but the Colonials (6-8-0, 5-6-0) played hard all match, with senior Alyse Caffrey relentlessly hunting some kind of score. PW put eight shots on goal and had some other really good moments in attack.

“Losing like this isn’t fun but it’s an opportunity for our players to learn,” PW coach Ryan Zehren said. “There’s plenty of things we need to keep working at and getting better at, so it’s back to the drawing board tomorrow.”

Skiles finished with six saves, including a couple of very tough stops on Lexow and Kailey Horton.

The Colonials entered the day on the outside looking in at the District I 4A playoff picture and while the loss didn’t help, they still have a window of opportunity. In their final three games, the Colonials face Upper Dublin, Upper Moreland and Hatboro-Horsham with UD and HH both currently in the district playoff field.

“We have a shot to pull off a few wins at the end of the season for a strong finish,” Zehren said. “If we can do that, when the dust settles, we’ll see where that puts us.”

Lexow was snake-bitten early in the second half, hitting a post and having a couple other shots saved or parried away but the senior finally broke through for a goal that started the second half spree.

Abington has 11 seniors and after a couple tough years in the SOL National, they’ve enjoyed this chance to hunt a title in the SOL American.

“It’s exciting and kind of shows we are capable of winning a championship,” Mancini, a center defender, said. “We hope to have this help the younger kids be as confident as us and play as well as we did.”

“I feel like we wanted to come into the league strong, but we have a lot of younger stars I think will keep it going,” senior Bella Azcona said.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Gabby Cooper and Abington’s Camryn Lexow go for a loose ball during their game on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Touey added a second goal on a long solo run following a counter on a PW corner kick then Tracey, also a senior, scored when she volleyed home a second chance ball when PW didn’t fully clear a corner.

Mancini, along with senior keeper Ashley Hopper, helped the Ghosts post a clean sheet. The Ghosts’ offense gets a lot of attention for the numbers it can put up, but the defensive unit has made strides this fall.

Hopper made eight stops to post the shutout and was very assertive with her box.

“This may be exaggerated but we feel like we’re unstoppable in a way,” Mancini said. “We’re doing well and as you can see, the confidence is coming from that. We read how we’re playing, so we know where someone is going to be and we can play them the ball.”

Azcona, a reserve, got a chance to play major minutes in the second half and made the most of them. The senior came in to score a pair of goals in the final 11 minutes.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Mackenzie Leszcynski positions herself to receive a pass as Abington’s Abby Bautista defends during their game on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“I want to play as much as I can and really prove to everyone that I can play, so I tried my hardest and I was happy to score a few goals,” Azcona said. “I’m trying to earn a position and I know I’m not going to do that unless I do what the coach tells me and all he tells me is to shoot back post, so I did it and it worked.”

The Ghosts can lock up the outright title with a win in any of their three remaining SOL American games. They also have two tough nonleague games with Pennridge and Neshaminy left before the postseason, so this team isn’t planning to let its focus slip.

“I think it’s a weight off the shoulders getting the league championship, so we can focus on the rest of ur upcoming games,” Mancini said. “We’re looking forward to playoffs.”

ABINGTON 9, PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 0
ABINGTON 4 5 – 9
PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 0 0 – 0
Goals: A – Kaleigh Serianni (Casey Touey), Arianna Mancini (Cam Lexow), Touey (Abby Baustista), Camille Muginer (Elizabeth Tracey), Lexow, Touey, Tracey, Bella Azcona, Azcona.

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