Matson helps Unionville top Council Rock South (VIDEO)

NORTHAMPTON – Oh but for the last few minutes of each half, the home team Council Rock South would have come out ahead in its non-league duel with Ches-Mont rival and defending District 1 champ Unionville Thursday afternoon, Sept. 24 in Bucks County.

Unionville sophomore Erin Matson tallied twice in this one, putting a ball into the back of the cage to put her team ahead 2-1 less than three minutes into the second half and then registering the game-winner with 3-and-a-half minutes to go in the contest and less than 90 seconds after CR South junior Caroline McGovern scored her second goal of the game to tie the score at 2-apiece.

“We’re prone to letdowns late in the second half,” admitted CR South senior co-captain Katie Rafter. “We think we have it and we just play down to their level.

“We need to start playing the whole 60 minutes. We can’t let down the last five minutes, especially after we just tied it up.”

Funny thing was the Golden Hawks were the ones that came out on fire in this one. Throughout the first 20-some minutes of the game, South pummeled the Indians’ cage with one shot after another and the Hawks out-cornered the visitors 9-3 in the first half.

“We had a lot of opportunities that we just didn’t capitalize on,” said CR South head coach Lisa Belz. “We had some corners but their flyer came out really fast.”

“Our corners were getting slowed down so we had to make adjustments right away.

“That hit wasn’t working and that’s when we went to the aerial.”

The Hawks had just one goal, however, scored on a looping shot by McGovern off a corner feed from classmate Tori Wright in the 22nd minute of play.

With 1:08 remaining in the half, Unionville answered as sophomore Claire Donovan relayed a cross from classmate Kate Anderson into the back of South’s cage to send the teams into the intermission tied at 1-all.

“When they scored, that kind of triggered us. We knew it was time for us to pick up our game and really focus on things,” said Matson. “We couldn’t just rely on one player. We had to focus as a team and use everyone

“And that’s what we did; we passed a lot, we scored and everyone assisted.”

At 2:53 of the second half, the visitors went ahead on Matson’s first strike.

When McGovern tallied her second goal, it looked like the game might go to overtime. But that was before the Indians’ fourth and final corner of the second half. Inserted by Donovan, Matson stopped the ball with her backhand, moved to her right, shot and scored for the backbreaker.

Despite her youth, Matson was recently selected to the MAX Field Hockey 2015 NJ/PA Region High School Players-to-Watch and also the 2015 National High School Top 10 Super Sophomores. A member of the USA Women’s National Indoor and USA Field Hockey Junior National teams, she’s committed to the University of North Carolina.

“Her stick work and her skill level is up there – college level,” explained Belz. “It’s hard to defend that when you’re not used to defending that caliper of a player.”

“But Katie (Rafter) and Tori Wright did an excellent job; they were both defending her throughout the game and I’m very pleased with them.”

For the game, the Hawks had 14 corners to seven for Unionville, though the difference was much closer in the second half – five for CR South and four for the Indians.

Unionville kept the pressure on the Hawks throughout large portions of the second half by keeping South hemmed in its own end.

“We were trying to get the ball to the right because we had some really good combinations in the beginning of the game,” explained Belz. “The second half, we couldn’t get it over there. They were kind of jamming it down that side.

“That hurt us a little bit, strategy-wise.”

According to Matson, Unionville had recently been working on its press-defense in practice.

“Our defense saved us today,” said Matson. “We kept them contained and didn’t let them get any attacking opportunities.

“That worked for us today and we did well with communicating on the field.

“We knew where the (opposition) was so we knew where to cover. We had each other’s backs.”

Coming off a district championship win over CB South and a first round exit in the PIAA tournament, the Indians have returned with a young squad after losing nine seniors to graduation including center-midfielder Izzy McDonough (UVA), backfielder Emily Anderson, forward Logan Perkins and center-back Katie Ward.

What Unionville came back with however was Matson and she led the Ches-Mont league in scoring last season with 37 goals and 27 assists including a hat trick in a district semifinal win over Downingtown East.

While the Indians remained unbeaten at 7-0 (5-0: Ches-Mont League), the loss – for CR South – ended a six-game win streak for the Hawks, who fell to 6-2 overall, 5-0 in the Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference.

Unionville 3, Council Rock South 2

(Sept. 24 at CR South)


CR SOUTH 1 1 – 2

FIRST-HALF GOALS: Caroline McGovern (CRS), from Tori Wright, 21:19; Claire Donovan (U), from Katie Anderson, 28:52.

SECOND-HALF GOALS: Erin Matson (U), 2:53; McGovern (CRS), 25:07; Matson (U), from Donovan, 26:34.

SHOTS: Unionville 8, CR South 7

SAVES: Lizzie Gaebel (U) 4; Julia Pero (CRS) 3.

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