LANGHORNE — Having lost a pair of games earlier in the week to its Suburban One National League foes, Council Rock South knew it could ill afford to lose another. Yet, here the Golden Hawks were trailing defending state champion Neshaminy 1-0 Sept. 19 on the Lady Skins’ home pitch.
Fortunately for South, it received a quick-strike goal by freshman Julie Rehb and two more by senior Nikki Caffey to win 3-1 and emerge from the third week in the season with its collective head above water.
“We came out today knowing we couldn’t lose; we had to win this game,’ said Caffey, a co-captain for the Hawks. “Winning it was just amazing.’
South began the week with a 1-0 loss to sister school CR North Sept. 15 at Walt Snyder Stadium. After a scoreless first half, the Indians made Mia Scalamandre’s first ever varsity goal in the second half stand. Then on Wednesday, Sept. 17 on their home pitch, the Hawks were outpaced by first-place Pennsbury, 3-1, despite a scoreless first half.
A third straight loss, especially one suffered at the hands of a league foe, would have been devastating.
“We needed this win so badly,’ stated Caffey, who scored her side’s only goal against the Falcons. “Coming off two losses, it’s just not who we are. We normally don’t lose two games a week, let alone three.’
Thirty-two minutes into the Neshaminy game, junior midfielder Alyssa Antonelli blasted a shot from 19 yards out that found the right side corner behind Hawks senior goalkeeper Allison Taub.
That sent South into the intermission with some soul-searching to do.
“We were all feeling down; I know I was,’ said Caffey. “I wasn’t putting anything in — wasn’t getting any quality shots.
“We knew we had to pick it up or we weren’t going to win.
“Coming off the bench at the half, we knew we had to make it through. We had to play with more intensity and that’s what we did.’
That’s exactly what they did.
After tying the score at 1-all on the goal by Rehb (Elissa Dotzman assist), a breakdown in the Skins’ defense gave Caffey a clear shot from 18 yards out. She made no mistake, putting the ball past Neshaminy freshman keeper Vicki Smith for the winning goal in the 71st minute of play.
The senior co-captain was not done yet. In the 73rd minute, from 40 yards out, she blasted a shot that looked like it was going into the back of the net for sure. The bullet hit the cross-bar however and caromed harmlessly away.
“That sucked because it was a really good shot,’ stated Caffey. “Knowing that it missed, my heart sunk a little bit but we knew we had to keep shooting and one of them was going to fall after that.’
And keep shooting, the Hawks did.
With four minutes remaining, Dotzman belted a shot from the 30 with South senior Lindsey Hirsch right there on the doorstep. A minute later, a shot by sophomore Maria Buonomo sailed just wide after a failed clearing attempt by Neshaminy.
Finally in the 77th minute, Caffey got on the end of yet another cross by sophomore Jesse Magee, putting the ball into the short side for a 3-1 triumph.
After the game, Caffey explained the need to keep the pressure on the home team.
“We knew we had to put as much pressure as we could because not all of our shots were falling,’ she said.
“We just had to keep shooting as many times as we could, hoping that something was going to fall.
“Even when we tied it, we knew we had to keep going, put more intensity up.
“When we were winning, we still wanted to put up more and with two minutes left, we wanted to keep playing with as much intensity as we could all the way to the finish.’
And that’s the way the Hawks should play the game for the remainder of the season, said Caffey.
“We set our standards really high today,’ she said. “What we want to do from now on is play exactly as we just did.
“That’s how we’re going to keep playing — playing with more heart, playing with more intensity. “Hopefully, we can keep winning games and win this league; that’s our goal.’
With the win, South pushes its way to 4-2-1 in the SONL, 6-2 overall.
For the Skins, who entered the contest coming off a 5-0 victory over Truman and ties with Pennsbury and West Chester Rustin, they fall to 4-3-2 overall, 3-3-1 in the league.