FRANCONIA — Fastest on the draw, Souderton Area had the one shining advantage needed to survive Wednesday’s shootout with Abington.
“It was a point of emphasis for us,’ Big Red coach Kelly Kelly said of the draw controls, “because it was something that — in the past three games — we had not been doing well. We went over it in practice a couple different times — a couple different scenarios — and really talked about how the tone of the game gets set off of the draw.’
Big Red had control of the ball most of the way, and in a contest like this, whoever had the ball was almost always scoring with it. Souderton piled up the points to earn a 20-15 victory over the previously-unbeaten Ghosts, on a wild, windy afternoon on the turf at Souderton.
“I think the girls picked up their intensity level,’ Kelly said, “because they knew going into this game that Abington was strong on the draws. We saw that they had beaten teams just off of that. We worked on it, we practiced, and the girls definitely picked up their level of play with it.’
Kyra Shank gave Souderton a 1-0 lead just 13 seconds into the contest.
The pace had been set.
The two teams would play to a 4-4 tie midway through the first half, but then the Indians — dominating possession — put together an 8-0 run to close out the first half. The go-ahead goal came from Natalie Bulgier, who raced 60 yards, taking the ball all the way in and rifling a shot past Abington keeper Micaela Murcar to put Souderton in front for good.
Big Red was in control the rest of the way.
“We definitely just worked as a team and it looked really pretty,’ said the Indians’ Amber Lambeth, who had a hat trick in the victory. “Everyone stepped up and got their own goals. This was a big one. (Abington) was 3-0 coming in and we were really looking for the win.
“I like the diversity (with this team). We haven’t really played together that much in the past and it’s really cool seeing how different people play, and bringing that all together as a team.’
The Indians were a scoring machine on this afternoon, led by Krista Schneider’s six-goal effort. Carlie Doughty had five goals for Big Red and speedy Kyra Shank had three.
Abington (3-1), despite missing two starters, battled right into the final minute, slimming what had been a nine-goal deficit down to five, as sophomore Lindsay Baer finished tied for the game-high with six goals.
But ultimately, Souderton had the ball too often for Abington to gain the edge.
“The ground balls on the draw — we weren’t able to come up with those,’ Abington coach Mary Kate Lomady said. “I just felt like we were slow today. Our first step wasn’t there and theirs was.
“It was a shootout. They scored 20 goals, we scored 15, and in games like that, you need to win the draw. That’s how you play defense.’
Souderton will be back on the field today, at Plymouth Whitemarsh, while Abington gets ready for a April 9 showdown at Hatboro-Horsham.