GA gets healthy, of­fense gets in groove

Pa­tri­ots win PAISAA opener in con­vinc­ing fash­ion

The Review - - Sports - ByAn­drewRobin­son arobin­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

For the first 23 min­utes of play Fri­day, Mac Pluck’s ef­forts were sound and fury but yielded noth­ing.

That’s not en­tirely true, as the Ger­man­town Academy se­nior striker’s ef­forts did yield quite a bit of frus­tra­tion on her part. Pluck, a Duke re­cruit, just could not get the ball to go into the net, hit­ting the cross­bar three times, the post an­other and putting an­other shot in­side the six over the bar .

Pluck sawher team­mates score a few times in her stead but she was driven and fi­nally con­verted a chance with 17 min­utes left in the first half as GA rolled vis­it­ing Ge­orge School 7-0 in the first round of the PAISAA tour­na­ment.

“I guess the luck wasn’t on my side to­day shoot­ing,” Pluck said with a laugh. “I guess next time I’ll shoot at the post and maybe it’ll go the other way and in. It was our last home game, every­one was su­per-ex­cited to come out and that’s why we had the game we did.”

The story of GA’s sea­son has been in­juries. All year, the Pa­tri­ots have been racked with in­juries to key play­ers all over the field, with Pluck even­miss­ing ex­tended time due to a con­cus­sion ear­lier in the cam­paign. While GA isn’t back to 100 per­cent health, they’re close enough.

Fri­day was just the kind of­match they were look­ing for to showwhat it could do with the right pieces back on the pitch. GA, the No. 6 seed, took it right at No. 11 Ge­orge School al­though it took 10 min­utes to fi­nally put a ball away.

“Since we’ve got­ten every­one back, I feel like it’s a fresh, clean slate and we can start from scratch,” Pluck said. “We have a new mo­ti­va­tion to win games.”

“When we were deal­ing with in­juries, we were able to come to­gether and try to keep that chem­istry go­ing,” se­nior mid­fielder Bai­ley Gil­more said. “Now that we’re back, we’re com­ing back 10 times stronger.”

An­nelise Peter­son scored the first two goals for GA, the first a good hit as­sisted by Mad­die Burns and the sec­ond a great strike off the right flank that flew in the far post side of the net. Pluck scored about four min­utes af­ter Peter­son’s sec­ond, re­ceiv­ing a ball from Peter­son just out­side the ball then clin­i­cally drib­bling in and slot­ting the ball to the far post.

Gil­more made it 4-0 af­ter she took a corner kick, then had the ball come back to her off Sarah Dilello’s hit. Keep­ing the ball on the end­line, Gil­more pow­ered to­ward the goal, tuck­ing her shot be­tween the near post and the keeper with 11:46 left in the half.

“We needed this game to find our rhythm again with every­one back,” Gil­more said. “It was there for us to work to­gether as a team and find a rhythm. It feels good, we’re fi­nally com­ing back to­gether.”

All match, the Pa­tri­ots were able to move the ball ex­cep­tion­ally well and didn’t look like a team that spent the fall jug­gling line­ups and starters. Pluck looped a cross into the box that was knocked down by a de­fender and right to fresh­man Paige Lu­gossy, who punched it home for a 5-0 lead.

“We did that re­ally well to­day, we were find­ing the space and we were mov­ing the ball,” Gil­more said. “That’s some­thing we’ve had to work on through­out the sea­son, es­pe­cially with a bunch of dif­fer­ent girls com­ing in and out.”

Even with a big lead, GA con­tin­ued to work the ball around and hus­tle into the sec­ond half. Lu­gossy created the team’s sixth goal when she ran hard af­ter a long through ball from Ally Clark, get­ting to it on the end­line and cross­ing back in, where JT Sariksy knocked it in on the far post.

Clark, a ju­nior mid­fielder, capped the scor­ing when she drib­bled through the de­fense and put a shot away with about 20min­utes left. Fromthere, GA coach Chris Nel­son was able to give subs plenty of min­utes and even be­gan mov­ing play­ers to dif­fer­ent po­si­tions.

“We had to put some games be­hind us, it took a while and the los­ing men­tal­ity kind of lin­gered a lit­tle bit so we had to re­ally come to­gether as a team and talk it out,” Pluck said. “We found that this game and it brought us some mo­ti­va­tion.”

“We have to play less as in­di­vid­u­als and as soon as you see us start­ing to con­nect th­ese passes in gaps, any one of us can shoot,” Gil­more said. “Shoot­ing is the least of our wor­ries, it’s mov­ing on and off the ball. It’s find­ing the rhythm early. We came to­gether as a team to­day and have that sense of what we can do.”

Where dur­ing the sea­son, GA had ath­letes out of po­si­tion by need, they fin­ished Fri­day’s game with their start­ing goal­keeper at striker, de­fend­ers in the mid­field and their Duke­bound striker play­ing sweeper be­hind Gil­more at stop­per.

“I have a lot­more re­spect for the de­fend­ers be­cause I know how or­ga­nized they have to be,” Pluck said. “I’m thank­ful I got to ex­pe­ri­ence that and I can give them­more re­spect and help back there.”

“It was hard to con­trol our­selves be­cause we’re so used to get­ting for­ward and go­ing to the goal,” Gil­more added with a laugh. “We were try­ing to go for­ward and our coach was yelling at us to stay back.”

GA will face No. 3 seed West­town, the de­fend­ing PAISAA cham­pion, on the road next Tues­day. The Pa­tri­ots also have a hand­ful of In­ter-Act games left, in­clud­ing their an­nual sea­son- end­ing con­test with Pen­nChar­ter as part of GAPC Day.

The Pa­tri­ots won the PAISAA ti­tle two years ago, when Pluck and Gil­more were sopho­mores, and they see the same kind of tal­ent on this year’s squad. It was a mat­ter of get­ting it all on the field and back to play­ing as a team.

“We have the heart to win any­thing, we just have to put our minds to it and play the way we know how to play,” Gil­more said. “I think we have all the tal­ent in the world.”

Ger­man­town Academy 7, Ge­orge School 0

GER­MAN­TOWN ACADEMY 5 2 – 7 GE­ORGE SCHOOL 0 0 – 0 Goals: GA – An­nelise Peter­son (Mad­die Burns), Peter­son (Kathryn Hack­ley), Mac Pluck (Peter­son), Bai­ley Gil­more (Sarah Dilello), Paige Lu­gossy (Pluck), JT Sarisky (Lu­gossy, Ally Clark), Ally Clark. Shots: GA – 21, GS – 2. Saves: GA – Lilly Al­tomare 1, Meghan Toscano 1.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ger­man­town Academy’s Al­li­son Clark­works to re­ceive a pass be­tween Ge­orge School de­fend­ers Fri­day.

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