NEWTOWN >> Campbell Power looked to her right and let off a short pass right to the feet of Sara Readinger.
Earlier in Monday night’s match at Council Rock North, Power had scored from nearly that spot but in this case, she made the smart play and let a more open teammate take the shot. Readinger paid Power back for the assist by hitting it perfectly, sending the ball low and end over end to tuck just inside the far post.
It took just a few seconds, but summed up the dynamic partnership of the two Souderton senior midfielders pretty well.
“I think we’re both pretty consistent and we know where each other is going to be,” Readinger said. “We’re pretty good at dribbling up the middle and finding each other to shoot it.”
“We’re both composed and see the game well,” Power said. “We’re both competitive but we also know when to talk to each other, get the other girls going and we’re always looking to play to feet.”
Power and Readinger were at their all-around midfield best as Souderton topped North 3-1, both scoring in the second half in the latest chapter of sterling senior seasons for both. From a heavily offensive-oriented start to now playing roles of playmaker and facilitator, the pair has played an integral role to the Indians’ season.
While Readinger fills a holding role and Power takes a more attacking spot, the two flip spots constantly when the ball finds their feet in the middle. Both cover a lot of ground, can track back to make a tackle or advance up the field with the ball at their feet. Given that neither is restrained to one spot, it only makes them more dangerous.
“They are familiar with each other’s style of play so they can anticipate each other’s movement and I think they really trust in each other’s ability,” Souderton coach Lindsy Jones said. “I relied on them a lot early, especially when it came to shooting and finishing through the midfield. But, the younger players are becoming more familiar with Campbell and Sara’s style and more confident in their own ability so it’s truly a team effort.”
Readinger and Power knew the forward line would need some time to get itself sorted, especially with senior Allie Trick sidelined for the year with an injury. The two midfielders put the scoring burden on themselves early, but cited a change in formation and a surge in confidence by the players up for easing that pressure on them.
Monday, Power and Readinger were looking to spring their forwards early and often. Power hit an early cross that found Grace Taylor in stride down the left flank, eventually leading to a shot on goal while Readinger had a similar ball that put Erin O’Keefe in a dangerous spot.
“We’ve played together for four years and we interchangeably can play each other’s position, I can trust Campbell to trust back to defensive mid and she can trust me to go forward, we both have that trust in each other,” Readinger said.
“Freshman year was the hardest for us playing together, sophomore year was our first on varsity so that was a different game, but by this year, it’s easier and almost a natural thing,” Power said. “When she goes forward, I just drop back of I go forward, she knows to hang back if I need to leave a drop ball or she has to cover for me.”
While they’re able to switch roles on the fly, Readinger and Power are practically tailor-made for their starting spots.
Readinger, who is continuing her career at Penn, uses her height to full advantage to win offensive and defensive headers and brings a physical edge to tackles. The senior has good touch too, easily able to control a tough pass and start it up the field and when she doesn’t have the ball, she gets in an open spot to be an option if a teammate gets into trouble.
Power, who has committed to Bloomsburg, has a wicked outside shot that she used to full effect on a 30-yard hit for Souderton’s second goal on Monday. But she’s also got a keen eye for teammates and aside from being a primary server on free and corner kicks, Power can hit the long, looping passes that have opened up the Indians’ attack.
“Our new formation helps us with being open in the middle,” Power said. “Our girls stay a lot wider on the outside and we have a higher forward than we did earlier in the season. We had to find through balls to the girls’ feet earlier in the season but now with this new formation, it allows us to stay open and we’re all pushing up more together.”
It’s no shock that after four years roaming the midfield together, Readinger and Power have come to understand each other’s strengths and how they can best play off each other.
“Campbell is really reliable, especially up top to get the ball forward,” Readinger said. “She’s always working hard and I know she’s going to win tackles and run through people. There’s never a question of how hard she’s going to work. She’s always going to be there and she’s so good at transition the ball into attack.”
Readinger plays a position that often doesn’t get much credit or attention, but Power knows better than anyone just what the Penn recruit does on the field.
“Well, headers for one, she always wins the ball out of the air and gets it forward, I trust her completely behind me,” Power said. “I lose the ball, I know she’s right there. She gets into tackles, she’s just such a strong player and she gets the ball to my feet. It’s a lot of trust built up.”
Aside from their roles on the field, Power and Readinger are Souderton’s captains this year. They’ve been a key part of the programs’ steady rise from a bottom of the table side to a team contending for a first-round District 1-4A playoff bye.
Power noted the postseason hasn’t gone as hoped for the group where they “tend to hit a block” and her hope is to see the Indians go further than they did in previous years while Readinger said they plan to go out as hard as possible and hope it comes with a flurry of goals.
“This year, out of all the years I’ve been on the team, it’s the most comfortable I have been with all the girls,” Power said. “I talk with my parents about this all the time, as a sophomore I was in a group chat with all the seniors and I would never have been so open. Now, we’re all making jokes with each other and making fun of each other, that family aspect is so important to us.
“Our grade, not just the two of us, but our whole class helped enforce it with the team and it’s something I’d like to see continue going forward.”
The Indians have a big senior class this year and the two senior midfielders said their performances this year are driven not only by their classmates but all their teammates.
“It came from us but mostly Coach Lindsy,” Readinger said. “She wanted us to involve the underclassmen and have everyone work together. Everyone knows what they’re doing, we trust each other and nobody has to yell at each other to get back in position.”
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