Striker keeps ‘Skins’ string in­tact

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By John Glee­son

Cor­re­spon­dent Watch­ing a great ath­lete per­form al­ways proves cap­ti­vat­ing. You mar­vel at her ev­ery move, al­most to the point of los­ing sight of a given game’s score or ac­tion.

Me­gan Schafer, Neshaminy soc­cer stand­out, is just such a per­former. Though only a ju­nior, her ex­ploits on D sRc­cHr fiHOd hDYH DOrHDdy gained her recog­ni­tion on a lo­cal and na­tional level. At the end of a highly suc­cess­ful sopho­more cam­paign, Me­gan was named Al­lAmer­i­can by the Na­tional Soc­cer Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica (NSCAA). She had al­ready been granted an all-state se­lec­tion and a SODcH Rn WhH firsW WHDP AOOSOL team. Her fresh­man year, she was the SOL Na­tional Con­fer­ence Player of the Year.

Not a bad list of cre­den­tials for just two years of scholastic com­pe­ti­tion. The per­son­able Mid­dle­town res­i­dent en­ters her ju­nior year hav­ing al­ready scored 42 goals and recorded 31 as­sists.

More im­pres­sive than the glow­ing cre­den­tials, how­ever, is Me­gan’s teamor­i­ented at­ti­tude. She read­ily ad­mits she loves soc­cer be­cause, “It’s a team sport. You never want to set in­di­vid­ual goals alone. It’s bet­ter if you have 20 as­sists and four goals. You do what­ever you have to do to make the team be­come bet­ter.”

Me­gan knows how­ever, that the Redskins fare bet­ter if she puts the ball in the back of the en­emy’s net. Seven games into this sea­son she has al­ready scored 16 goals, in­clud­ing three hat tricks. “I play striker or for­ward and my main re­spon­si­bil­ity is to score goals. Also, we play two up top so I want to help the oth­ers score. You want to get ev­ery­one else in­volved.”

Re­al­iz­ing her tal­ents are go­ing to make her a marked man, Me­gan rel­ishes this year’s Red­skin team bal­ance. “In a lot of the games, there is pres­sure on me but a lot of teams don’t know about all the other offensive weapons we have. If I get the ball and am tripleteamed, I can use my team­mates and they can show their tal­ents. I need to keep all my op­tions open and al­ways look for my team­mates.”

Af­ter drop­ping a heart­break­ing 3-2 over­time game to Down­ing­town West in the sea­son opener, the ‘Skins have reeled off eight straight im­pres­sive vic­to­ries. In that span, they held a 44-2 scor­ing mar­gin. They have shutout their last seven op­po­nents and are cur­rently 6-0 in the highly com­pet­i­tive SOL Na­tional Division.

Such dom­i­nance usu­ally

en­tails a to­tal team ef­fort. “The coach made a cou­ple of switches in the be­gin­ning of the sea­son and our de­fense is do­ing great. Our goalie has seven shutouts and the de­fense is hold­ing strong. Also, we’ve scored a lot of goals in the past cou­ple of games so we have a po­tent offensive team.”

The Redskins knew they would need such a bal­anced at­tack when they took on Coun­cil Rock North last FULGDy Ln D EDWWOH IRU fiUsW place.

“We knew go­ing in we were both un­de­feated in the league. We ex­pect a bat­tle ev­ery time we play CR North or CR South and Penns­bury be­cause we are such ri­vals. It didn’t mat­ter what hap­pened last year when we were their only loss. They lost a lot of play­ers but that didn’t mat­ter ei­ther. We knew we would have to play our best.”

Tellingly, Me­gan felt the game’s out­come might hinge on de­fen­sive stops. “We knew they had this one girl, Ni­cole Moo­nan, and wH hDG RnH RI RuU PLG­fiHOGers, cran Donato on her and she barely touched the ball. That was one of the main goals of the game to stop her.”

The Redskins’ offensive strat­egy was sim­ple. “We wanted to use our tal­ent and speed. We have Erin car­rell on the right side and her sis­ter dabby up top. We wanted to take them on one by one.”

The plan worked to per­fec­tion as dabby car­rell scored off an as­sist from Me­gan with only two min­utes gone in the game. “I had a touch and then dabby took the shot and it went in.”

The game re­mained score­less un­til the 74th minute when Me­gan took a Ni­cole Ni­sivoc­cia pass and booted the ball by the CR goalie.

“It was a great ball from Ni­cole. It was a through ball. I beat the de­fender and was faced with a sit­u­a­tion I love. The goalie had to FRPH RuW DnG , MusW finLshHG it.”

The 2-0 win left the ‘Skins with an un­blem­ished 6-0 Na­tional Con­fer­ence reFRUG DnG sROH hROG Rn fiUsW place. With their tal­ented striker set­ting the pace, they GHfinLWHOy DUH DLPLng IRU Dn ex­cit­ing march to the post­sea­son playoffs.

***

Ni­cole Ni­sivoc­cia and Michaela

Neshaminy’s Me­gan Schafer shows deft foot­work with the ball.

Pho­tos by John Glee­son

Erin Far­rell and Anna Budny go all out for ball in Skins win over Coun­cil Rock North in a bat­tle of un­beat­ens.

Photo by John Glee­son

Neshaminy’s Jamie Ma­son (L) and Coun­cil Rock North’s Sarah Can­non per­form soc­cer bal­let in re­cent matchup be­tween the schools.

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