LANGHORNE – Vying for its second consecutive Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference crown last night at Neshaminy, Pennsbury found itself locked in a scoreless draw at the half.
“We were working hard but we just weren’t getting all the pieces together,” said Lady Falcons head coach Kaitlyn Battiste. “We asked each one of them to find that last push – that extra three inches that’s gonna be the difference.
After the break, Pennsbury (14-1, 11-1 SOL) attacked the Lady Skins’ net with a vengeance, registering three goals including a pair by junior midfielder Caroline Foley, who broke the tie just four minutes into the second half when she took a rebound of a shot by classmate Kelly Amador and poked it into the right side of the net. With a 3-0 win Oct. 15 at Harry Franks Stadium, the Falcons captured first place in the conference.
“The first half, we didn’t get as many shots off; it was kind of frantic. It always is when we play Neshaminy,” said Amador. “By the second half, we really got into our game. We just really built the ball up nicely and we have great attackers – people who know how to finish.”
Twenty minutes after Foley’s first strike, Amador took a through ball from Pennsbury senior Abby Wick and, after racing past a Skins defender, blasted the ball over the head of Neshaminy goalkeeper Vicki Smith and into the left side of the net.
“The first half, we didn’t have too many shots on frame,” added Battiste. “The second half, we just continued to put pressure on their defense.
“They came out fired up (after the half).”
Only moments before the winning strike by Foley, Falcons keeper Nany Santiago came up with a diving save on a header by Skins forward Brooke Mullin.
“That was huge; if they would have scored that goal, the game would have gone right back to frantic right after we got into the rhythm of playing Pennsbury soccer,” said Amador.
“So that save was awesome for us.”
Soon after Santiago’s big save, Neshaminy junior Maggie Daeche just missed a golden opportunity to score when a cross she booted toward the net glanced harmlessly off the crossbar.
The Skins really didn’t have that many more quality chances after that and with five minutes remaining, Foley intercepted a clearing pass and blasted it into the far left corner of the net, sending the score to its final.
Ironically, Foley only recently returned to the lineup after going down with a concussion in the second game of the season. She scored on a header in her first game back, a recent win over Truman, before adding two more in this one.
“She’s definitely come back into the mix and she’s a great player for us,” stated Amador.
“We’re thrilled. It’s great to have her back and making an impact after the concussion.”
Defending District 1 champs and state quarterfinalists in 2014, the Falcons lost Megan Engeland, Amy Blazejewski and Uche Onuoha among others when graduation took place in the spring.
“We lost some great players but we’ve always had a strong midfield – niner (Foley), (Meredith) Webber, and Abby (Wick). But Jenna Peters has really stepped up her game this year and Cara Thomas, who stepped up from JV for Uche (Onuoha) with me up top.
“It’s been a great season; we’ve lost a lot (talent to graduation) but it doesn’t seem like it.”
“We did lose a lot of quality players last year but these girls are finding a way to get the rest of the team hyped,” added Battiste. “They are excited to be playing in every game and they know what this team is capable of.”
For Neshaminy (9-4-1, 8-3-1 SOL), the Skins are in a battle for second place with Council Rock North (7-3-2: SONL), whom they tied 1-1 Oct. 13 in Newtown. While the Lady Indians held onto the Unity Cup, they could not get past sister school South in a game that resulted in a scoreless tie in double overtime.
Pennsbury 3, Neshaminy 0
(Oct. 15 at Neshaminy)
PENNSBURY 0 3 – 3
NESHAMINY 0 0 – 0
GOALS: Caroline Foley (P) unassisted, 44th minute; Kelly Amador (P) from Abby Wick, 64th minute; Caroline Foley (P) unassisted, 75th minute.
SHOTS: Pennsbury 9, Neshaminy 4
SAVES: Nany Santiago (P) 2; Holly Bowser (N) 3, Victoria Smith (N) 3