Still a little work to do at Pennsbury
Last year, Pennsbury returned to the soccer pitch with a large group of youngsters. With that, the goal was simple – just make the playoffs. The Falcons did just that, making a quick exit when they lost a close game to West Chester rival in their district opener.
Another year older and with just about everyone back, the bar has been raised at Pennsbury.
“We want to win it all,” said junior keeper Courtney Bennett.
Today against Strath Haven at home was a good test as to how far the Falcons have come.
Save a defensive lapse that led to a goal five minutes in by senior Morgan dlassford, Pennsbury played a strong first half, emerging from it with a 1-0 deficit.
The Falcons came back strong in the second half, yet still somehow the Panthers managed to pad their lead to 2-0 when junior Kristen Miller put another goal into the back of the net.
“That second goal really slowed us down,” said Pennsbury head coach Kaitlyn Battiste. “We lost it a little bit in that second half until the last seven minutes.”
“It was great to see the resurgence but hopefully we see that a little bit earlier in the future.”
Pennsbury came back from the temporary funk it slid into to challenge Strath Haven the final 10 minutes of the game. Speedy Falcon forward Oche Onuoha finally broke the seal around the Panthers’ net when she came through with a header with less than seven minutes to go.
“She has amazing speed and she’s really worked on finishing opportunities,” said Battiste. “Today she put a great one away. It was awesome to see her first goal of the season coming off her head and not just her feet.
“She’s working on being able to use all of her skills and putting them all together.”
The goal might have meant more had Pennsbury junior midfielder Lizzie Herman hit paydirt a few moments earlier when she received a pass inside the box from Onuoha with the only thing standing between her and the back of the net was Panthers keeper Krissy Welsh. Somehow, Welsh got her gloves on the ball as she laid out to her right to deny Herman.
“We started off a little slow,” admitted Bennett, currently nursing a preseason injury that has kept her on the sidelines the first week of the 2012 campaign. “We picked it up as the game went on.”
The Falcons applied pres- sure on the Strath Haven goal the rest of the way but try as they might, Pennsbury could not get the equalizer. GGG NEW FACES Pennsbury does have a few new faces in the lineup starting with junior Kylie Howe, who plays opposite Onuoha up top.
“She’s one of our most improved players in terms of playing above her size,” said Battiste. “She’s a little girl all of about five feet tall but she has playing much bigger than that today – really protecting the ball and getting her body around the defenders.”
“She’s small but she can get through people,” said Bennett.
Stepping up to the plate in the midfield are sophomore Megan Engeland and freshman Abby Wick, playing her first year on varsity.
Senior Bridget Congdon – one of four captains on the team – is back on defense, helping solidify the defense.
“She leads by example,” said Battiste of Congdon. She’s not the most outspoken captain but you know you’re getting 100 percent from her every time she steps onto the field.”
Senior Lexi Brown is back up top. Another one of the captains along with Bennett and junior Cassan- dra Burger, Brown led the way with two goals and two assists in a 4-1 victory over Bensalem Sept. 6 in the league opener.
Brown is the unordained leader of the offense this season if she wasn’t already in 2011.
it more than
of Brown. “She doesn’t let herself off the hook and she doesn’t let her teammates off the hook and they see that.
“She’s a the time.”
Junior Sarah jcDonald kept the Owls at bay in goal for the Falcons and did a nice job Friday versus Strath Haven.
At 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the SOL National Conference, the coach sees room for this team to improve, however.
“We still have a few kinks we need to work out,” admitted Battiste.
“Today, we came out a little lax in terms of our men-
all tal focus. We need to get a handle on that if we are going to compete against the best teams in the league.”
Pennsbury has a big week ahead, facing both Council oock North and Co South.
A year ago, North won 17 games under first-year coach Larry Sullivan, made it to the district finals and the state quarters. The Indians lost 14 seniors however but looked strong when they defeated Catholic League perennial power Archbishop Wood by a 2-1 score Sept. 4 on their home turf.
Co South won 15 games last year and lost five though three of those games were to Co North and two were suffered at the hands of Pennridge.
Pennsbury junior Kylie Howe (No. 9, left) is one of the new faces for the Falcons, who are off to a 3-1 start in the SOL National conference.
Falcons backfielder Cassandra Burger inserts the ball from the corner.