Hornig leads Mount rally

Magic sopho­more scores two goals as Mount de­feats Gwynedd Mercy

The Review - - Sports - By An­drew Robin­son arobin­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

LOWER GWYNEDD » Madi­son Hornig seems tailor-made for the Gwynedd Mercy Academy-Mount St Joseph girls’ soc­cer ri­valry.

Af­ter net­ting an over­time win­ner at GMA last sea­son in the team’s sec­ond meet­ing, the Magic sopho­more took things up a notch on Sept. 5 when the Mount and the Monar­chs both opened their sea­sons. Horn­ing scored two goals and picked up an un­usual as­sist on the third as Mount ral­lied to top GMA 3-1.

It was very much a first game of the sea­son for both sides, though the Mount did ad­just and set­tled down well in the sec­ond half as it ral­lied from a 1-0 deficit at the break.

“She’s a spe­cial player,” Mount coach Bill Nay­dan said of Hornig. “She tied for our team lead in goals last year as a fresh­man. I’m look­ing to her to be one of the lead­ers on of­fense this year.”

GMA had the bet­ter run of play for long stretches of the first half, con­found­ing Hornig and Mount with a high de­fen­sive back line and us­ing its speed on the flanks to gen­er­ate chances. Monar­chs se­nior Brid­get Casey also turned a mon­ster game at cen­ter back, es­pe­cially in the first half where she seem­ingly thwarted ev­ery Magic ad­vance or set piece chance.

With the back line up so high, the Mount mid­field­ers looked to spring Horn­ing through, but either ended up play­ing a ball with too heavy a touch, or the for­ward get­ting caught off­side.

On the other end, Gwynedd forced Mount St Joseph to do a lot of run­ning back and fi­nally caught the Magic out of sorts when left winger Grace Hirschman mus­cled past a de­fender down the touch­line and whipped a low-hang­ing cross into the box. Wait­ing for it was striker Emily Meenan, who didn’t miss the wide-open chance and staked GMA to an 11th minute lead.

“I want our girls to come out with a pur­pose and I thought in the first half, we did ex­tremely well,” GMA coach Derik Stover said. “I told the girls at half­time I wanted to keep put­ting the pres­sure on and hope­fully we could

put a cou­ple in and get some other girls in to get the taste of what it’s like. I have a lot of girls who have moved up to var­sity that I want to throw in the mix.”

Nay­dan and his play­ers had a pro­duc­tive half­time talk, which fo­cused on how to stop GMA go­ing for­ward and how to best tackle the high back line.

“I thought we needed to be more ag­gres­sive in the mid­dle, which is what we did in the sec­ond half,” Mount­mid­fielder Al­lie Prue said. “Body-to-body on ev­ery tackle and chal­lenge so that I could find Madi­son up top.”

It was Prue who fi­nally con­nected with Horn­ing on a good through ball that sent the sopho­more in. Hornig was com­posed on the run, deftly touch­ing around the on­rush­ing Gwynedd keeper then slot­ting the ball into the gap­ing net to tie it up five min­utes into the sec­ond half.

About three min­utes later, it was Horn­ing again charg­ing down the field with the ball at her foot, only this time, she had to run a lot far­ther. A Monar­chs cor­ner kick ended up at the far post with a host of Mount play­ers around, lead­ing to a clear and then a counter.

Horn­ing was able to shield the ball away from a chas­ing de­fender then opened up space and again fin­ished around the keeper for a 2-1 lead.

“I pushed into (the de­fender) a lit­tle bit so I could get space, and I just kind of ran,” Hornig said. “It’s kind of habit, I push into peo­ple and then run away.”

Gwynedd, which seemed a lit­tle shaken af­ter the ty­ing goal, showed some fight af­ter the sec­ond, but couldn’t quite con­nect again in the fi­nal third. Some of it was a prod­uct of new play­ers in new spots and a team try­ing to build its iden­tity on the field.

“I’m try­ing to find the next batch of young ladies who want to step up and who are up to the chal­lenge,” Stover said. “It’s OK. I know we’ ll bounce back, we have a tough match Thurs­day with Villa Maria, so it only gets more dif­fi­cult, but that’s what I want. I told the play­ers I want us to be chal­lenged with the very best.”

For Mount, it­was a game­l­ong ad­just­ment by the mid­field that helped pay off. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing a cou­ple of dy­namic play­ers last sea­son, it’s a new group in the mid­dle third, but Prue said they learned a lot about each other’s ten­den­cies and styles.

Prue capped the game off with plenty of flair when she ripped a su­perb 22-yard curl­ing vol­ley into the top of the net late in the game for the fi­nal mar­gin. The play was set up by Hornig, who man­aged to keep the ball through a tackle by Casey and got enough of it to play it out to Prue.

“I wanted to score go­ing into this game and I thought ‘here it is,’” Prue said. “I just hit it and thank­fully it went. It’s one of the best goals I’ve ever scored.”

Both teams con­tinue AACA play this week, with GMA host­ing Villa Maria and Mount tak­ing on Nazareth Academy. They meet again at Mount St. Joseph on Sept. 26, where Hornig will con­tinue to try and add to her grow­ing run of suc­cess against the Monar­chs.

“We just need to start games the way we fin­ished to­day’s,” Hornig said. “If we come in with the right mind­set and find each other, we can play like that the whole game.”

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