Soud­eron takes on Coun­cil Rock North

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By An­drew Robin­son arobin­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

FRANCONIA >> Rain fell as the wan­ing mo­ments of the first over­time wound off the clock.

The ball had found its way to the foot of Lind­sey DeHaven, fit­ting given the sopho­more had scored the game-win­ner the last two times Pen­nridge faced Soud­er­ton. This time, she would not be so lucky as her point-blank shot was pushed away by In­di­ans keeper Lind­sey Pazdziorko.

Nei­ther team scored, but the In­di­ans still man­aged a point out of a 0-0 draw Thurs­day night and they could live with that.

“We have some great com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the field now and we know each other in­side and out,” Pazdziorko said. “Most of us have been play­ing to­gether for the last four years and we work to­gether re­ally well. We talk all the time on the field, we know what the other peo­ple out there with us are go­ing to do.”

A Tow­son re­cruit, Pazdziorko only got bet­ter as the weather got worse on Thurs­day. A 30-minute light­ning de­lay halted the game with 10:28 left in the first half but once the teams got back on the pitch, Pen­nridge threw ev­ery­thing it had at Soud­er­ton.

If one thing has de­fined the In­di­ans this fall, it’s the play of their de­fen­sive unit. Thurs­day’s match was the sixth draw for Soud­er­ton this fall and while the of­fense hasn’t re­ally clicked con­sis­tently, the back third has been rock solid.

Soud­er­ton has given up just seven goals all year, with three com­ing in a loss to CB South, so the group has proven very st­ingy. It’s an ex­pe­ri­enced group, with se­niors Mi­randa Kull­man, Sam Har­wick, Kailee Har­wick and ju­nior Darby Kramer pro­vid­ing a tough wall in front of Pazdziorko and sopho­more keeper Mor­gan Molyneaux.

“The whole time, I would say we had high in­ten­sity and we knew if one of us stepped up, we had to cover,” Kull­man said. “We’ve been work­ing to­gether ever since we were lit­tle so we’ve had that

had that pas­sion and that drive. We wanted to beat Pen­nridge so we had to do it to­gether.”

Over the past few sea­sons, the Rams and In­di­ans have played a num­ber of close games and gone into over­time in sev­eral of them. The rea­son is both teams are very good, es­pe­cially in the mid­field and on the de­fen­sive third so it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to break them down.

Thurs­day’s matchup fea­tured an­other tough bat­tle in the mid­dle with Pen­nridge’s group of Mad­die An­der­son, Nicolette Har­ri­son, Chance Hen­dricks and Ash­ley Groe­ber du­el­ing Soud­er­ton’s Camp­bell Power, Sara Readinger and Sarah TocheMan­ley.

Groe­ber was very solid for Pen­nridge and her free kick ser­vice twice struck the cross­bar in the late stages of the game.

“I thought we re­ally im­proved from each half and go­ing into the over­time,” Groe­ber said. “We played with more in­ten­sity. I think we were un­lucky, but we were cre­at­ing chances.”

Kull­man said the twice an­nual matchup with the Rams is one she al­ways looked for­ward to be­cause both sides wanted to chal­lenge each other up and down the field. Ev­ery tackle in the mid­field was con­tested and both teams’ back lines didn’t give in as the at­tack­ers tried ev­ery trick they had to find room.

“Per­son­ally as a player, if some­one is com­ing at me, I’m go­ing to come back harder,” Kull­man said. “If we’re com­ing back harder than them, it has an ef­fect on all of us in gen­eral. That I felt hap­pened tonight, we had high pres­sure and moved it up the field and con­nected the ball well.”

Life as a goal­keeper in the SOL Con­ti­nen­tal con­fer­ence isn’t an easy one but Pazdziorko has played as well as any­one else be­tween the posts this sea­son. A sec­ondyear var­sity starter, the se­nior was sure handed and said she’s able to play with a lit­tle more flex­i­bil­ity this year be­cause her de­fend­ers know what she’s go­ing to be do­ing at any time.

Pazdziorko is a strong vo­cal pres­ence in the back, but she doesn’t want it to be a oneway av­enue. The se­nior is at her best when the de­fend­ers are talk­ing back and tell her what they want her do, the same as she does for them.

“I’m more com­fort­able on the field now, last year was me get­ting my feet wet and get­ting into it but this year I’m a lot more set­tled with the team and all the girls,” Pazdziorko said. “We tried to stay fo­cused the en­tire game. We were pumped, we were ready for this game and wanted it through and through.”

Groe­ber’s two cracks off the bar ex­cluded, Pazdziorko was in po­si­tion to make a stop on ev­ery shot she faced on Thurs­day. Her stop of DeHaven late in the first over­time stood out, but she also had a cou­ple of key de­nials against Rams se­nior Abby Groff as part of her eight­save out­ing.

“It kind of just comes back down to ba­sics,” Pazdziorko said of her late game-savers. “It’s me trust­ing my­self know­ing I can make the save.”

Pen­nridge was frus­trated to not score, but the Rams oth­er­wise felt they had done some good things in the run of play. The mid­field held its own while the backs did a nice job of lim­it­ing Soud­er­ton’s front line and even get­ting some at­tack­ing runs started out of the back third.

Groe­ber said that Thurs­day’s match made the Rams bet­ter be­cause they had to work just as hard as Soud­er­ton to not give up a goal and take a point from the match.

“The whole team brought it’s ‘A’ game,” Groe­ber said. “We in the mid­fielder worked on con­nect­ing passes and try­ing to set­tle the game down a lit­tle bit be­cause Soud­er­ton is very good too. I think over­all as a team, we re­ally picked it up as we went longer into the game.”

Soud­er­ton faces Boy­er­town Fri­day while Pen­nridge heads to Abing­ton as both teams take on chal­leng­ing nonleague games with the post­sea­son right around the cor­ner.

“We’re con­fi­dent in the back, we don’t panic that much,” Pazdziorko said. “Our de­fend­ers are con­fi­dent, like Mi­randa, she’s go­ing to go through any­one to get the ball and they take a lot of pres­sure off me by do­ing what­ever it takes to get to it.”

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Pen­nridge’s Ash­ley Groe­ber drib­bles up field near Soud­er­ton’s Sara Readinger Thurs­day night.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Pen­nridge’s Nicolette Har­ri­son set­tles a pass as Soud­er­ton’s Tay­lor Yoder de­fends Thurs­day night.

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