Souderton dominant in shutout win over Upper Dublin

FRANCONIA — Possession is nine-tenths of the law.

It’s not an actual law, but it’s an expression with some merit. In sports terms, possession can be nine-tenths of the outcome.

Monday afternoon, Souderton proved it with a 5-0 win over visiting Upper Dublin in field hockey.

“We came out with a little bit of fire,’ Souderton coach Jen Whiteside said. “We’ve had a couple of close losses in our last two games and we really wanted to prove that we can and will score goals.’

The Indians brought the heat from the beginning and all but set up a camp in the Lady Cardinals’ end throughout the contest. As importantly, Souderton didn’t let up in the second half, continuing to dominate the ball and generate chances.

For Upper Dublin coach Lauren Boyer, it was a chance to put her young team up against some high level competition. The Cards’ non-conference slate is loaded with power teams, so there’s some lumps to be expected, but it’s all with the purpose of improvement down the line.

“I told the girls that if you want to be the best, you have to be able to play with the best and win,’ Boyer said. “It gives them an idea what to excel to and what to really work for. It’s a learning process.’

Whiteside challenged her charges to find the cage in the opening five minutes. Souderton didn’t quite hit that mark, but they got close enough, opening the scoring with 24:33 left in the first half.

Right midfielder Keely Jennings took a shot from inside the semicircle and put it through the netting on the far post of the cage, causing a half-second of pause before the official ruled it a good goal.

Jennings made her presence felt with a number of quality runs into the penalty area, stretching Upper Dublin’s defense to open space for forwards Nina Disco, Erin Saybolt and Gabby Sedares.

“We’ve been talking all preseason about how we have so much depth in our forwards and our midfield,’ Whiteside said. “We wanted to go out and prove it. It showed today where we had a ton of shots on goal and lots of opportunities to capitalize on.’

Sedares nearly doubled the lead twice, but missed wide on a breakaway then hit the post a few minutes later. However, the forward finally broke through with 3:11 left in the half when she powered a shot through a scrum in front of the Cardinals’ cage.

Despite being pinned in their own end for most of the half, the Cardinals had stood tall by keeping it a two-goal deficit. But, they also struggled to generate sustained offense, relying on one or two attackers to make a long run from the wrong side of midfield.

“We had no corners and maybe two shots on goal, so it was a very lopsided game,’ Boyer said. “But, Souderton was young last year and they took their lumps and have really done a nice job this year in coming together.’

Field hockey, like any team sport, requires more than one player to maintain possession. The Indians’ offense was fluid and dynamic, channeling the ball from the outside lanes back to the middle and vice-versa.

“Their passing was very good,’ Boyer said. “They had great vision off the ball and that’s what we’re trying to get our girls to be. I knew they would be very well prepared.’

Any qualms about a slow start after halftime were erased with a Disco tune.

A penalty corner led to a goal by Disco just past five minutes into the frame. The forward stuck with it, grabbing her second goal roughly seven minutes later, pushing a shot in through a scrum in front of the cage.

“At halftime we talked about how we needed to avoid getting into one-on-one situations and pass the ball a lot more and see each other along with holding our positions,’ Whiteside said. “It showed.’

The final score came with 12:44 to go when forward Tara Maloney was in the right place at the right time. A shot took a deflection off a stick and Maloney was right there to flick it home from near point-blank range.

Even with the ball all but rooted in the Upper Dublin half, Souderton’s backs stayed locked in. Their diligence paid off with less than two minutes left and the Cards on a break.

The defense did enough to slow the run and goalie Shelby Landes was able to come out and knock the ball away.

“Upper Dublin is coached by a great coach, who coached me, so I know she has a great offensive mind,’ Whiteside said. “When they had their breakaways, we were able to stay pretty close to them. Our defense is working on communication so to have a focus like that, they need to be communicating.’

Whiteside noted the play of center mid Rachel Kayarise and back Ali Casciato along with the forwards.

While Upper Dublin is a youthful side, Boyer has a few key seniors in Cydney Christian, Courtney Vincent, Naomi Lee and Isabella Bucci. Monday’s result was lopsided, but Boyer said her girls are very receptive to instruction and games like Monday’s should pay off in the future.

“It gives us something to shoot for in the near future,’ Boyer said. “We’ll get there, hopefully sooner rather than later.’


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