Con­estoga stymied by Strath Haven’s Perl­man

Ju­nior makes 14 saves in 1-1 tie

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Matthew De Ge­orge mde­ge­orge@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @sports­doc­tormd on Twit­ter

As she read­ied to face Con­estoga Thursday night, Strath Haven ju­nior Carly Perl­man had a clear ob­jec­tive in mind: Prove she can with­stand the heat of the Cen­tral League as a start­ing goal­keeper.

As she walked off Ge­orge L. King Field, few in at­ten­dance would’ve be­lieved that was ever in doubt.

The first-year starter was out­stand­ing, mak­ing 14 saves and man­ning the area with author­ity as the teams played out an en­thralling and con­tentious 1-1 stale­mate.

With Haven on the back foot for long stretches, Perl­man was the last line of de­fense. She ex­e­cuted the task with nearly flaw­less pre­ci­sion.

Head coach Gino Mi­raglia has vacil­lated be­tween Perl­man and tal­ented fresh­man Claire Wol­gast, let­ting both have a crack at re­plac­ing All-Delco three-year starter Katie Fisher. Perl­man’s opus pro­vided a com­pelling ar­gu­ment to grab hold of the No. 1 keeper’s gloves.

“I think com­ing into this game, I had the men­tal­ity that this was my chance to re­ally prove my­self,” she said. “I’m ei­ther go­ing to shut them out or not let them win, and that’s ex­actly what hap­pened.”

“It was amaz­ing,” de­fender Liz De­Carlo said. “I’ve never seen shots like that be­ing saved. It was awe­some. It’s a new goalie this year, so we’re get­ting it to­gether, and she just re­ally pulled it off.”

Con­estoga (6-0-2, 4-0-1) un­doubt­edly owned the bet­ter of play, but all they had to show for a del­uge of 26 shots was Nia Scott’s goal just be­fore half­time.

The rest was frus­tra­tion,

mostly meted out by Perl­man and a pair of cross­bar rat­tlings — courtesy of Madie French in the first half and Caitlin Dono­van with 90 se­conds to play in the first over­time. The an­noy­ance was ag­gra­vated by a pair of Con­estoga’s mid­field­ers, Kate­lyn Perz and Emily Wertz, who left and did not re­turn with ap­par­ent leg in­juries in a phys­i­cal, sim­mer­ing af­fair.

The fi­nal se­quence of the game il­lus­trated Con­estoga’s du­al­ity of cre­ativ­ity and frus­tra­tion. Cait­lyn Eller­beck floated a tan­ta­liz­ing free kick from the left wing that found Dono­van, the fresh­man who set up Scott’s goal, at the far post. She largely whiffed on an open header, nod­ding down into a tan­gle of legs that cul­mi­nated with Perl­man as­sertively pounc­ing on the ball to wind out the clock.

“We put in a lot of ef­fort, and we were there,” Scott said. “We had so many shots. And we just didn’t fin­ish to­day. But we know we can fin­ish those in other games. Tons of games, we fin­ish all those shots.”

Perl­man’s best save came in the first half, Scott slip­ping in Dono­van one-v-one on the keeper in the left chan­nel and pick­ing the far post, but Perl­man splen­didly pawed it away at full stretch. She did the same on an Eller­beck free kick from 20 yards in the se­cond half, and stymied Scott and Dono­van in quick suc­ces­sion in over­time. The stops com­ple­mented myr­iad quick-think­ing rushes off her line to cor­ral spec­u­la­tive through balls, co­or­di­nat­ing adroitly with cen­ter backs Ni­cole McNeely and Kacy Hafer­tepe.

Perl­man de­scribes it as a “zone” she en­ters. Serv­ing as a spec­ta­tor be­tween the posts isn’t to her lik­ing, so 20-some shots keep­ing her on her toes are fine.

“As the game goes on and it gets more emo­tional, it be­comes more of an in­stinct to me to know what to do,” she said. “All the cheer­ing on the sidelines, ev­ery­one talk­ing, I zone it out and I’m in my own mind.”

She got of­fen­sive help from a de­fender, too, with De­Carlo open­ing the scoring against the run of play in the 25th minute on a su­perb curl­ing free kick from the wing. The left back eyed a set piece to the mixer at the back post, but her de­liv­ery just kept flut­ter­ing into the side net­ting.

“Hon­estly, that (kick to a team­mate) was what I was go­ing for, and I just had a re­ally nice kick,” De­Carlo said. “I placed it on the side net­ting, so it was a re­ally hard kick for the goalie to stop. I was re­ally ner­vous in the mo­ment, but I was re­ally, re­ally happy when it all hap­pened.”

Strath Haven (6-1-1, 4-01) gen­er­ated lit­tle on of­fense, with Lizzie King of­ten iso­lated or un­able to find that cru­cial touch to get free from Con­estoga’s back­line.

But Perl­man en­sured they sal­vaged the point and pre­served the log­jam atop the league, some­thing the ju­nior knew she was ca­pa­ble of from that early Dono­van shot on­ward.

“I was like, if I can dive like that, I can do this,” Perl­man said. “We can do this.”

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Con­estoga for­ward Nia Scott scores against Strath Haven on Thursday.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Strath Haven goalie Carly Perl­man makes a div­ing save in the first half against Con­estoga on Thursday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.