Costa’s OT goal sends Lower Moreland past Christopher Dock

TOWAMENCIN — Overtime can be cruel.

Brianna Costa’s overtime tap-in handed Lower Moreland’s girls’ soccer team a 1-0 win at Christopher Dock Tuesday night. Costa was able to clean up a scramble off a corner kick to give the Lions a golden goal winner.

That it took overtime was indicative of the type of game played.

“Both teams couldn’t score,’ Lower Moreland coach John Oberholtzer said. “They had a good number of opportunities, we had a couple too that we didn’t finish. We were lucky to come away with a win, that could’ve been anybody’s ballgame.’

Lower Moreland had two golden chances to strike early, but a heavy touch twice denied a goal. Freshman Brianna Costa was played in on an excellent ball only to sky her shot over the bar with 37:20 to go and a few moments later, Bridgett Alexander did the same.

Dock was a bit too reliant on the long ball through the first half, but a bit of build-up led to a chance midway through the half. Emily Custer was teed up for a shot from 23 yards out that was parried safely.

“I thought we had a lot more chances than what they had,’ Dock coach Ray Hess said. “At the end it seemed like we were out of steam a little bit and (goalkeeper) Emily (Gordon) saved us a couple of times. The first half we didn’t connect well, we just kept whacking the ball up the field.’

The Lions’ offense had trouble building up the field, with passes finding a Dock player more often than a teammate. The Lower Moreland forwards also kept drifting offsides, and the Lions settled for too much dribbling.

With Curtis occupied, Nafzinger was there to clean up in the back, making several huge tackles and herding Lower Moreland attackers off the ball. Clements was dynamic out of the back, bringing the ball up into the attack and helping to connect better in the second half.

“Eden and Nikki, it’s neat to have those people coming out of the back who are so offensively minded,’ Hess said.

Costa had another shot saved with 17:39 to go, but that would stand as the only Lion shot on frame in the first half.

By contrast, Dock put five on the frame, the closest an effort by Baily Kratz that clattered off the crossbar on a 25- yard free kick. Kratz, who played through a right quad contusion, was also denied by LM keeper Victoria Mueller with 13:40 left.

The second half saw an increase in desperation as the minutes wore down.

Kratz continued to have abysmal luck, striking the crossbar with 27:13 to go, the far post with 14:32 left and was a few inches wide of the far post on a gaping goal with7:06 left. She also mis-hit a rebound wide after Mueller couldn’t contain a shot when she charged off the line with 3:36 to go.

Kratz’s shot that hit the post was a beautiful curling strike that looked destined for the net right until it curved into the post. It was just that kind of night for Dock.

“We’ve got to learn from this,’ Hess said. “Hopefully this won’t happen in a playoff situation and we can come out on top before the overtime.’

Dock controlled much of the play through the middle of the second half, but Mueller played a huge role in keeping it scoreless. The goalkeeper was aggressive, charging the ball and disrupting shots.

“Our goaltender was fabulous,’ Oberholtzer said. “Theirs was to, she collected some point-blank tries. But (Mueller) really came up huge. Without her great game tonight, it could have been a three, four-nothing ball game.’

The Lions drew a corner with 7:50 to go in overtime, and the service was headed off the post by Kaila Landau, where it fell to Costa.

“She was smart,’ Oberholzer said. “All she did was toe-poke the ball in the back of the net.

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