Abing­ton girls soc­cer ral­lies for vic­tory over Up­per Dublin.

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Andrew Robin­son arobin­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

Casey Touey can’t ac­tu­ally tele­port, but it’s easy to think oth­er­wise when she’s on a soc­cer pitch.

The Abing­ton sopho­more with blis­ter­ing pace seems to ma­te­ri­al­ize out of thin air chas­ing down and con­trol­ling a ball, but found her­self qui­eted in the first half against Up­per Dublin on Wed­nes­day night, as did the rest of her Gal­lop­ing Ghost team­mates. All a player like Touey needs is a chance how­ever, and she made hers count in the sec­ond half.

Touey scored two goals and as­sisted an­other to com­ple­ment a brace from Cam Lexow as Abing­ton topped Up­per Dublin 4-3 in a wild SOL Amer­i­can matchup un­der the lights at Car­di­nal Sta­dium. “In the first half when I was get­ting the ball, I wasn’t re­ally aware of where they were,” Touey said. “I picked up on their pat­terns and in the sec­ond half, I ba­si­cally used that to find out how to turn around them with­out los­ing the ball and make a pass.”

Up­per Dublin did a nice job of keeping the game con­tained in the mid­dle of the field in the first half, which seems like an odd thing to want when there’s a player like Abing­ton’s Lexow roam­ing there. But, the Car­di­nals did well to limit Lexow’s touches and as a re­sult, the ball didn’t find its way out to the wide chan­nels very of­ten.

Car­di­nals se­nior Lexie Moss had the early as­sign­ment of keeping Lexow oc­cu­pied and the mid­fielder gave the Car­di­nals more

than that when she headed in the game’s first goal off a cor­ner kick with 23:30 left in the first half. The hard­work­ing Moss, who UD coach John Top­per la­beled an en­gine of the team, had to de­part with an in­jury a bit later and did not re­turn to the match.

Af­ter be­ing held in check in the first half de­spite a PK goal from Lexow, the Ghosts were de­ter­mined to get the ball where they could be most dan­ger­ous.

“We knew if we let them get in be­hind, they have some quick and tal­ented play­ers and we let the ball land in our half too many times,” Top­per said. “That gave them op­por­tu­ni­ties to turn and run at us and we know what a good player Touey is. We told the girls don’t get beat by what you know but we let her some space to run at us and she pun­ished us for it.”

Tina Haig’s free kick goal had supplied UD’s 2-1 lead at the half and LExow, as a co-cap­tain felt com­pelled to rally her team­mates at the break.

“They beat us last year (in a non­league game) so I wanted to get ev­ery­one our team up so we could fight harder,” Lexow said. “Up­per Dublin in the past has al­ways fought hard no mat­ter what the score was, so it was in my heart to get the team believ­ing they could win.”

The game was all but de­cided in a five-minute span in the sec­ond half. Up­per Dublin drew a penalty kick with 25 min­utes left, and while the ef­fort was well-hit, Abing­ton se­nior keeper Ash­ley Hop­per made a tremen­dous save on the penalty and a fol­low-up shot.

Hop­per has been split­ting time in goal with Olivia Oliphant and Ghosts coach Rick Tomp­kins said both keep­ers are push­ing each other daily.

“It was a game-saver, she’s had two PKs on her this year and saved them both,” Tomp­kins said. “They split time and chal­lenge each other. They’ve been al­ter­nat­ing, we’ve played four games and each has started two.”

Lexow said the PK save was the turn­ing point and the Ghosts turned into an equal­izer two min­utes later when Touey made one of those “where did she come from” runs down the left flank and put away the chance.

“In the first half I no­ticed my runs were more up and down than side to side and once I started mak­ing those side­ways runs, it not only opened up for me but our other play­ers,” Touey said. “Our for­ma­tion is that we want to play out wide so we took ad­van­tage of the space they gave us.”

Lexow staked the Ghosts to a 3-2 lead on a qual­ity com­bi­na­tion with Touey. Lexow played a long ball to the sopho­more, fol­lowed the play and re­ceived the ball back, then pow­ered through a tackle and put the chance away with 21:51 left in the game

The best time to strike back is right af­ter a goal and UD did just that as the Car­di­nals turned a quick op­por­tu­nity into a goal when Laura Pendle­ton buried a top shelf chance for the 3-3 equal­izer a minute later.

“I was proud of our girls’ ef­fort, we didn’t come flat or any­thing, but we could have ex­e­cuted bet­ter and had bet­ter de­ci­sion-mak­ing,” Top­per said. “When we lost Lexie, we lost a a lit­tle bit in the mid­field and never com­pletely re­gained dom­i­nance in that area of the field and that’s where they were able to spring some of their at­tacks from in the sec­ond half.”

Touey scored Abing­ton’s third goal in 3:45 of game time with 20:13 left when she turned on the jets again down the touch­line, cut in to her right and kept pos­ses­sion through a tackle then launched an ef­fort from out­side the box that pinged the bar and went in.

“This year, our team is re­silient and we won’t give up,” Touey said. “We saw that tonight, we were down and came back. We were all want­ing to score that goal so we kept go­ing harder and harder every time we got a run in.”

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Up­per Dublin’s Priya Kane­ria ad­vance the ball dur­ing game against Abing­ton.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Abing­ton’s Casey Touey looks to pass near Up­per Dublin’s Sascha Keitz.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Abing­ton’s Kaliey Hor­ton waits for a waits as Up­per Dublin’s Kait­lyn Brown de­fends.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Abing­ton’s Caro­line Hughes drib­ble up field near Up­per Dublin’s Ju­lia Eus­tace.

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