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Wingate posts shutout, Pennridge stifles Souderton in SOL Continental showdown

FRANCONIA >> At the point of the season where the bumps and bruises are catching up with Pennridge’s field hockey team, the Rams can count on one thing in every game.

No matter who is in front of her, Carley Wingate will have the cage under control. The senior goalkeeper was sterling Monday afternoon, making 14 saves and defending 12 penalty corners as the Rams topped host Souderton, 2-0.

It was a big game for both teams as each was coming off a solid win to close out last week’s schedule.

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Souderton’s Rachel Kagarise reaches a strick out to the ball in front of Pennridge’s Kira Ozer during their game on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

“We beat Souderton last time 3-2 but that was a night game and we had our whole student section come out,” Wingate said. “This game really proved we don’t need that to win and we’re just a good team in general.”

Injuries have prompted Pennridge to make some changes in the lineup. Senior captain Meghan Griffen was filling in at left back and scored the team’s second goal with a well-place shot on a penalty corner.

The result was impressive for Pennridge considering the Rams were out-shot 14-7 and got doubled up in corners, 12-6. Souderton had near constant pressure in the Rams’ circle for the first three minutes but somehow, Wingate and her makeshift defense emerged unscathed.

“They beat CB East last week so they were coming in on a high,” Griffen said. “We prepped all day for them, we prepped on the bus. We just had to stay focused and it took us a few minutes to settle in.”

Wingate said the main area of adjustment with the new lineup has been communication and spacial awareness. With defenders in new roles, it’s important for them to know where they are, who they’re marking and as Griffen pointed out, making sure they aren’t blocking Wingate’s view of the ball.

Surviving the initial onslaught had several benefits for Pennridge. Not only did the team keep the game scoreless, but Wingate and the defense got a look at how the Indians would be attacking and who the most dangerous forwards were.

“You could tell Souderton wanted to work it down the right side,” Griffen said. “They stacked their players on that side.”

Pennridge proved efficient and opportunistic with its first shot of the game. A counterattack found forward Sydney Bareman who in turn sent Caitlyn Amsden in on a breakaway. Amsden was patient, waiting for Souderton’s goalie to come out then sliding the ball to the far post with 16:57 left in the first half.

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media Souderton's Emily Kramer battles Pennridge's Melanie Kering for possession Oct. 10, 2015.

Souderton’s Emily Kramer battles Pennridge’s Melanie Kering for possession during their game on Monday, Oct. 10, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

While the Rams didn’t have as many shots as Souderton, the front line had some quality interplay throughout the game.

“We’ve got new people playing forward line and two of them are freshmen,” Rams coach Becky Spahr said. “I’m really excited about how they played together and the way they moved the ball.”

Pennridge’s defense certainly deserves it’s share of the credit for shutting down Souderton, but Big Red could also lament its inability to make anything out of its chances. There were ample opportunities to find a goal and put pressure back on Pennridge.

“Today was absolutely frustrating especially coming off a big win on Friday with the momentum going in our direction,” Souderton coach Lauren Whiteside said. “The name of the game is scoring goals and unfortunately we had tons of opportunities and just couldn’t capitalize.”

Whiteside said her team has had a few games this season where it can’t seem to finish and felt Monday was just one of those days. She did note the play of center back Juliana Borisow, who seemed to have a stick in on every Pennridge run down the the field.

The Rams got their second goal with 1:25 left in the half, with the timing a blow to Souderton and an extra boost for Pennridge. A corner insert found its way to Larissa Mott at the top of the circle and the senior laid it off to Griffen, who rifled a shot inside the post.

“That was not the goal of the goal, we were supposed to have a tip-in on the far post but she didn’t need to be there,” Griffen said. “Our coach actually called it because she saw it was open, so props to Becky.”

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media Pennridge's Megan Griffen drives the ball pursued bySouderton'sCarly Manto Oct. 10, 2015.

Pennridge’s Megan Griffen drives the ball pursued by Souderton’s Carly Manto during their game on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

The defender added that the second goal allowed the Rams to take a few more risks while Wingate said her team did a nice job of not letting up, especially in the back.

“We wanted a shutout today,” Wingate said.

“She has stepped up so much this year,” Spahr said of her goalie. “I honestly think she’s one of, if not the best, goalie in our league. She’s really showing it, she makes save after save and they’re not easy ones either.”

Coming off an overtime win to end last week, Pennridge appears to be hitting its stride at the right time of the year. Spahr said her seniors have been outstanding leaders all season and the team has become so close, they want as many games as possible together.

Despite not being at full strentgh, it’s a team fully confident it can push for the playoffs.

“In the beginning, we had all the skills and we just had to get there mentally,” Wingate said. “With these major wins, we’ve been getting there and getting our confidence up and that’s the only thing we needed and we have that now.

“We want playoffs. We don’t want these to be our last games.”

“It helps to know that this past weekend we didn’t play our best and we still won,” Griffen said. “We can flip a switch and really kick it in.”

Top Photo:  Pennridge’s Kellie Drugotch taps the ball between the feet of Souderton’s Liz O’Hara during their game on Monday, Oct 12, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

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