ABINGTON >> Abington surrendered 23 goals in its first seven games this season. In the eight games since, the Ghosts have allowed three goals.
That high level of defensive play continued Wednesday afternoon when Abington picked up a 4-0 Suburban One League Liberty Division win over Upper Dublin at Memorial Field.
This was the Ghosts (10-5, 9-4 SOL Liberty) sixth shutout over the eight-game stretch. They’ve allowed just one goal in their last five games.
“We’ve started to really mark much better in the circle,” Abington coach Katie Small said, “and keeping our sticks down. Those are the things we’ve been concentrating on as the season continues through. At the beginning of the season we were definitely ball-watching and turning our back and facing the net. Now I see us staying low, getting the ball out and talking back there more than we ever have.”
“We’ve been really trying to stay marked and make sure we know where each one of our opponents are in the circle,” Abington midfielder Camryn Stewart added, “so that we can beat them to the ball and get out of our circle. We like to stop them before they even reach the circle, because that’s the only spot they can potentially beat us at. I’ve been really proud of how our defense has really been sticking with the opponents.”
Maddie Slavin, Emma Brown, Grace Upham and Olivia Doughtery anchored the defense against Upper Dublin. In the first half, Dougherty caught a breakaway from behind to stop a scoring chance. In the second half, Slavin was the lone defender during an Upper Dublin 2-on-1 and stole the ball to end the threat.
Stewart got the scoring started halfway through the second quarter when her strong shot from the right found the far side of the cage.
“As long as we take it as fast as possible and get them back on their heels we had open shots,” she said. “As soon as we get one goal, we just keep the momentum going. We always try to score first and that’s what’s helped us to our record so far.”
Doughtery added another goal before half on a penalty corner. The Ghosts initial shot was saved, but didn’t bounce away. Doughtery was there at the left post to poke it in for a 2-0 advantage.
Just 24 seconds into the second half, Erica Devlin extended the advantage to 3-0.
Skylar Beal finished the scoring with a goal later in the third quarter when she got the finishing touch on a scramble in front of the cage.
Abington moved up to No. 14 in the District 1-3A rankings. The top 24 teams qualify for playoffs. The Ghosts face Wissahickon, Quakertown and William Tennent before playoffs start on Oct. 24.
Upper Dublin fell to 8-7-1 overall and 7-6-1 in SOL Liberty play with the loss. The Cardinals are ranked eighth in District 1-2A, where 16 teams make the playoffs. They face Plymouth Whitemarsh and Hatboro-Horsham before the postseason starts on Oct. 25.
Abington 4, Upper Dublin 0
Upper Dublin 0 0 0 0 – 0
Abington 0 2 2 0 – 4
Goals: A: Camryn Stewart, Olivia Doughtery, Erica Devlin, Skylar Beal
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