UPPER MORELAND >> After finishing the regular season with an 11-3 record in the Suburban One American Conference Upper Moreland squared off with Lower Moreland in the opening round of the PIAA District 1-AA playoffs Tuesday afternoon.
The Golden Bears used a hot start combined with several great individual efforts to convincingly move past the Lions with a 4-0 victory.
One of the keys to Upper Moreland controlling the game was owning the midfield. The Bears owned the midfield as Delaney Smith and Emily Jennings routinely cut off the Lower Moreland passes leading to transitions back into the offensive zone.
“Del did a nice job cutting to the ball and cutting off their passes,” Upper Moreland coach Karen Grossi said. “I think Emily Jennings, (our) center midfielder also did a great job, when the ball came to her she was able to do something.”
Stellar play in the midfield quickly turned to goals for the Bears as Jenna Getz started the scoring just over five minutes in. It was just more than three minutes later that she netted another giving Upper Moreland a quick 2-0 lead.
The quick two goals were due in part to some break downs in the Lower Moreland defense as it lost positioning leading to the quality scoring chances for the Bears.
“There were couple times we lost our mark which obviously is crucial in the circle,” Lower Moreland coach Danielle Kline said. “Upper Moreland had very nice passing and good transition that caught our defense off guard.”
Lower Moreland had a few chances offensively particularly in the first half when it had three corner opportunities. The Lions just couldn’t seem able to get the ball to stay on their sticks or hit the ball cleanly.
“We had a few chances and corners, we just didn’t capitalize,” Kline said. “(Upper Moreland’s) quick passing and transition enabled them to get ahead early.”
After assisting on Getz’s second goal, Smith netted the third goal of the half for the Bears on a penalty stroke with 12:22 remaining in the first half, a margin that would hold until halftime.
Although Upper Moreland did most of its damage scoring in the first half, the second half was the better for the Bears as far as ball control and offensive pressure.
“The girls picked it up second half they started pressuring better, cutting towards the ball and started working more as a team that second half,” Grossi said.
As Upper Moreland offense kept the pressure on the Lower Moreland defense Getz scored the final goal to ice with game and complete a thorough performance with her third goal of the day.
“It takes someone to be able to find the ball and put it on cage,” Grossi said of Getz’s scoring. “Jenna did a great job with that. She’s been doing really well; she had five goals in our last game so hopefully she can continue to keep finding the net.”
Up next for the Bears a date with fourth seeded Gwynedd Mercy Academy in the second round Thursday afternoon.
“Last year was the first year was the first time I ever went to playoffs and this year was the first year we actually won a playoff game so we’re pretty excited,” Smith said. “We’re ready to go.”