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Hatboro-Horsham makes its chance count against Wissahickon

HORSHAM >> There’s an old belief among soccer strikers that the next chance they get is the one they’re going to bury.

It’s what the front line of the Hatboro-Horsham girls’ soccer team forwards kept telling themselves late in the second half and again in overtime Monday night. Facing a tough-minded Wissahickon side under the stadium lights, the Hatters were again forced to dig deep internally and find a way out.

Thanks to senior Ally Eutermoser in nearly the final minute of play, the Hatter did just that, claiming a 3-2 double overtime victory over the visiting Trojans.

“We wanted to win, we didn’t want to tie so we all put in the effort,” Eutermoser said. “We were a little nervous, it’s the first night game and for us seniors, we were excited to get out here and play but we had to keep working together and keep our heads in the game.”

As the Hatters celebrated following Eutermoser tucking away the winner with 1:08 left in the second overtime, Wiss coach Chris McDaniels pulled his team in for a talk. The Trojans’ players told the story, they felt like they had played well enough to deserve at least a point for their performance.

It’s also a mark in the change of expectations for Wissahickon this season, with McDaniels in his second year. The Trojans want to improve on last season’s win-loss record and push for a playoff bid this year and Monday night was a sign they’re not far off from a team expecting to contend for an SOL American title.

“The game was a little bit hectic and came down to who was going to win the middle of the field,” McDaniels said. “I thought we did a nice job in there, our keepers did a nice job and made all the saves they should have made.

“When I took the program last year, the idea was to make strides in the right direction and we won a few more games than they did the year before. Now this year’s crew wants to win a few more than we did last year and by my math, puts us in position to contend for a playoff spot which is the next step in our growth.”

Monday’s first half was a bit choppy, with the ball spending a lot of time being played in the air or off a bounce and neither side really developing long spells of possession. Still, the hosts were the more dangerous attacking side sparked by senior wide midfielder Maggie O’Neill.

O’Neill forced Wiss keeper Quinn Klessel into a superb stop midway through the first half, while Emily Thomas and Eutermoser all tested Klessel and second half keeper Caroline Hassall through the first 60 minutes of play.

Wiss didn’t generate as many chances, though the Trojans had their best success taking the ball right at defenders. Carly Amato led that charge, but the issue on Monday was the amount of work the forwards had to do in order to get the ball at their feet.

“As much as we defended well, the next step is giving them far less to do to get on the ball,” McDaniels said. “We required quite a bit from them in terms of getting on the ball. If you’re running 40 yards to get on the ball, wrestling a defender the whole way and trying to beat a defender, it’s a lot different if you didn’t make a 40-yard sprint.”

A handball on a blocked shot set up a free kick right on the edge of the box and with a couple options, the Trojans had Natalie Ryan step up to take it. Ryan drove her effort right on frame, eluding the edge of the wall the Hatters set up and finding the back of the net with 24 minutes to play.

The match escalated from there, with the Hatters morphing formations to get more in the attack and both teams playing with more edge.

“We didn’t want to lose on our home turf tonight so we came out strong,” O’Neill said. “We had a lot of opportunities we didn’t finish. We knew it was coming. We had a lot of opportunities getting crosses in so I think we needed to continue to get it wide and play it in and it was coming.”

It did come for the Hatters with eight minutes to go thanks to Eutermoser and O’Neill. After the Hatters kept the ball alive on the right touchline, it got played back into the box where Eutermoser made the extra pass to find O’Neill.

The senior hit her try on the money, dipping the effort just inside the post but just out of the reach of the keeper to level the score.

“It’s just a drive to win,” O’Neill said.

Thomas almost found a winner right after O’Neill’s equalizer but Hassall made a superb save to keep her side in it. Neither team really created much in the end of regulation or first overtime but Amato forced Hatters keeper Martine Royds into a stop early in the second extra time.

With time winding down, the Hatters were awarded a free kick just over the midfield line. Gabrielle Liott drove a service into the box, where Eutermoser was able to turn on it and punched home the winner.

“We talked to them at halftime and said to them we weren’t the same team as we were last week and I think that fired them up a little bit,” Hatters coach Kelsey Daley said. “Whatever we said to them worked in the second half because their intensity was a lot better. They’re really excited for this year, it’s the first year they see themselves as a top contender for the league and they say every day they want to win the league more than anything else.

“They want this to be their year so with games like this, they’re going to have to dig deep and that’s exactly what they did today.”


WISSAHICKON 0 1 0 0 -0

Goals: HH – Grace O’Neill (Ally Eutermoser), Eutermoser (Gabrielle Liott); W – Natalie Ryan.



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