Suero, Moore connect to ignite Spring-Ford to 2-0 win over Harriton

Laura Suero and Missy Moore have been close for a long time. They’re even next-door neighbors.

“We share a fence,” joked Moore.

Spring-Ford's Libby Andrews clears the ball while under pressure from Harriton's Samantha Bigham Thursday. (Austin Hertzog - The Mercury)
Spring-Ford’s Libby Andrews clears the ball while under pressure from Harriton’s Samantha Bigham Thursday. (Austin Hertzog – The Mercury)

On the soccer field, they typically share the left side of the Rams’ back line, Suero as a senior center back, Moore the junior left back for the Spring-Ford girls soccer team.

Thursday night, when the Rams were desperate for an offensive spark, Suero and Moore shared something else: a brain.

With Suero pushed forward into the midfield as her team chased a goal, Moore thumped a booming, bending cross over the top of the defense into the path of sprinting Suero, whose diving header broke a deadlock in the second half and sent Spring-Ford on its way to a 2-0 victory over Harriton in a District 1-AAA second round contest at Spring-Ford’s Coach McNelly Stadium.

Gabrielle Vagnozzi scored the game-sealing second goal for No. 4 seed Spring-Ford (16-3-2), which will face Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Owen J. Roberts (a 3-0 winner over Garnet Valley) on Saturday at Spring-Ford (time to be determined) with a spot in the PIAA Championships and the district semifinals on the line.

Harriton, the No. 13 seed which defeated No. 20 Bishop Shanahan 1-0 in the first round, maintained a steadfast defensive shape throughout in front of senior goalkeeper Claire Coyle (two saves), respecting Spring-Ford’s ability going forward, even defending with all 11 players on corner kicks.

It worked in the first half as Spring-Ford had nothing to show for their dominance in possession, not even a shot on goal (six shots total). They did hit the post twice, sophomore Gabby Kane’s one-timer on a Molly McHarg cross inches away from nestling into the left side of goal.

Suero – the Penn State commit who was selected as one of only two Pennsylvania players to play in the High School All-American Game in Raleigh, N.C., earlier this week – stepped into the midfield after halftime, allowing seniors Taylor Newhart, Amy Roth and Moore to handle things on the back line against Harriton’s single-striker formation.

Spring-Ford's KK O'Donnell, left, competes for the ball with Harriton's Morgan Rees Thursday. (Austin Hertzog - The Mercury)
Spring-Ford’s KK O’Donnell, left, competes for the ball with Harriton’s Morgan Rees Thursday. (Austin Hertzog – The Mercury)

“With our three defenders being amazing, they can handle it back there,” Suero said. “We needed more on the attack so we attacked and whenever (Moore) takes a kick from right in that spot I know exactly where she’s going to put it and to get my head on it.”

Suero’s run went undetected by most, except for Moore.

“I’ve known her my whole life. We live next to each other and we just have that connection,” Moore said. “Every time I see her (getting forward) I know she is good with her head and I just place it and I know she is going to be there.”

The goal gave Spring-Ford the lead with 33:40 to play and just over five minutes later they were up 2-0 as KK O’Donnell’s corner kick was headed off the crossbar by Suero and headed again into the net by Vagnozzi.

Harriton was forced to chase the game and give more support to senior striker Samantha Bigham, but could only muster three shots on goal. Spring-Ford starting goalkeeper Amanda Byrd made one save while freshman Alex Hyduke, who came in with seven minutes remaining, made the other two.

NOTES >> Spring-Ford held a 7-1 advantage in corners. … Spring-Ford defeated OJR in both regular season meetings, 5-0 on Sept. 17 and 2-1 on Oct. 15.

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