Fleck leads Lower Moreland past Springfield-Montco in District 1-AA opener

Heading into Friday’s PIAA District One class AA opening round game with Springfield, Lower Moreland was looking to figure out how to best replace its best player and top goal scorer Bridgette Alexander as the senior was lost for the season with a knee injury.

“We’re hobbled,” Lower Moreland coach John Oberholtzer said. “Our number one goal scorer, 100 something goals in her career, is out.”

The Lions might have found their answer, at least for a game away, as Erica Fleck scored two of Lower Moreland’s three goals in a 3-0 win.

“It was very good to see her scoring,” Oberholtzer said. “She’s had a lot frustration with that within the last week. She’s had those opportunities and missed them.”

It wasn’t just scoring where Fleck made her impact felt. Fleck, a powerful forward, used her strength to cut through the smaller defensive back line as she got clean looks at the Springfield net all day as well as creating opportunity for her teammates as well.

Lower Moreland as a team just looked sharp throughout the game. Sometimes the right play is the simple play and the Lions used crisp, simple passes to move the ball up and down the field. Just as Fleck’s play at forward wore down the Spartans so the great passing of the majority of the Lions.

“That Lower Moreland team is really well put together [and] really well coached,” Springfield coach Dan Malora said. “The ball movement was so crisp on their end that it was a little bit much for us to take in the first half.”

Playing in the Suburban One League is both a blessing and curse sometimes for Springfield. On the one hand, playing high quality opponents all the time prepares it for teams that it will see in the playoffs as Springfield is the only AA team that plays in the SOL.

“The Suburban One is a fantastic league, we’re really happy to be in it and we take our lumps every once in a while,” Malora said. “We had a couple marquee wins this year. We got one past PW, one past Wissahickon and the competition is just so good I think it really helped the girls [playing] against big schools coming into a playoff bracket with really great talent so we weren’t under prepared just a little undersized.”

Unfortunately sometimes a tough schedule can wear a team down and that’s what happened to the Spartans Friday afternoon. Not only did fatigue from the game set in in the second half but a residual effect from the season started to appear as well. Springfield left it all out on the field but it was apparent by the end of the game the team was out of gas.

“The fatigue probably set in for us a few weeks ago,” Malora said. “We didn’t have a very deep bench this year and so our subs had to be used sparingly. Fatigue for the last few weeks and absolutely fatigue today.”

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