Iower jore­land claims Bi­cen ti­tle

Times Chronicle - - OPINION - By Mike Prince


Af­ter help­ing to start the iower jore­land girls’ soc­cer pro­gram just seven years ago, only to leave the school to re­turn to Coun­cil oock last sea­son, gohn Ober­holtzer made the cor­rect de­ci­sion by re­turn­ing to the iady iions this sea­son.

,n KLs firsW sHasRn baFN with the iady iions – his sLxWK RvHraOO wLWK WKH sTuaG – the iower jore­land head coach and 38-year vet­eran helped lead iower jore­land to a Bi­cen­ten­nial ieague ti­tle fol­low­ing a 5-0 win over kew Hope-Sole­bury on Tues­day af­ter­noon at iower jore­land High School.

The league cham­pi­onship was nRW RnOy WKH firsW IRr WKH iower jore­land girls’ soc­cer WHaP, buW WKH firsW HvHr OHaJuH ti­tle in the his­tory of any iower jore­land soc­cer team, which in­cludes the club pro­grams.

“f told the girls that this was nRW WKH firsW FKaPSLRn­ship f’ve been a part of,” said Ober­holtzer, who has coached other wrestling, tennis and soc­cer teams over the past four decades. “f’ve won dis­trict ti­tles and been in states with Coun­cil oock, but to do it with these girls was great. f’m just thrilled to death for them com­ing from a year when they were truly the un­der­dogs and were able to step up when they were in a po­si­tion to win the league.”

Ober­holtzer was also im­pressed to see his team score five goals against a team like kew Hope, which had not given up five goals to a team all year.

“7R sFRrH fivH JRaOs aJaLnsW kew Hope is an ac­com­plish­ment in it­self,” he said. “ko­body else has done that and all the games played be­tween all of these league teams have bHHn FORsH. 7R sFRrH fivH JRaOs against them is un­real. te just had a great game. te are nRW fivH JRaOs bHWWHr WKan 1Hw Hope, they just had an off-day to­day, but to­day we were.”

7KH /aGy /LRns, wKR fin­ished with a league record of 7-0-3 and cur­rently sit un­de­feated with an over­all record of 10-0-3, started off slow Rn 7uHsGay, buW wHrH fi­naOOy able to get on the score­board 20 min­utes into the con­test.

gu­nior cap­tain jelinda jartins headed in a free kick from sopho­more Brid­gette Alexan­der to give iower 0RrHOanG WKH firsW KaOI OHaG. The iady iions led 2-0 at the half, af­ter Alexan­der scored a goal of her own beIRrH WKH HnG RI WKH firsW KaOI.

fn the sec­ond half, ju­nior DHPL 0RrJan­sWHLn sFRrHG twice for iower jore­land and fresh­man Alyssa Ci­olko added one to give the iady iions the 5-0 vic­tory.

“te started out poorly for the firsW 10-15 PLnuWHs, buW RnFH wH sFRrHG WKaW firsW JRaO, wH stepped it up from then on,” Ober­holtzer said. “f thought we had the ma­jor­ity of the play. And to have a girl like Brid­gette, who is just fan­tas­tic, is huge. kew Hope has girls who played on a state cham­pi­onship team, so for a fresh­man to step up like that and put the de­fense on their heels was huge. She has three more years for us, which is a coach’s dream. To have a player like that who can score goals against a le­git­i­mate team and still know you have her for three more years, it’s just in­cred­i­ble and a real plus.”

Alexan­der, who is clos­ing Ln Rn 20 JRaOs Ln KHr firsW sHa­son with the iady iions, cred­its the re­turn of Ober­holtzer

with the rea­son for Lower More­land’s suc­cess this year.

“It’s all re­ally be­cause of ‘Mr. O’ com­ing back and giv­ing us a boost to start the sea­son off,” Alexan­der said. “It’s a great feel­ing to win and be­ing a fresh­man, it’s re­ally amaz­ing to come in and get a good start and also to give the se­niors a good last year.”

Be­sides re­ceiv­ing mul­ti­ple goals from fresh­men on Tues­day, the Lady Lions, who only had one se­nior on WhH fiHOG DJDLQVW 1Hw HRSH, also saw their fresh­man goal­keeper play an ex­cel­lent game. Vic­to­ria Mueller stopped a hand­ful of shots in net to earn the shutout for Lower More­land.

But the real story on Tues­day was not just a huge shutout win over a team that beat Lower More­land 7-0 last VHDVRQ, EuW WhH fiUVW OHDJuH ti­tle in the his­tory of the school’s soc­cer pro­grams.

“We’ve come close be­fore, but no cigar,” Ober­holtzer said. “I’ve been in and out of this pro­gram, but I came back and for me per­son­ally, I’m just ex­cited for the girls to be able to ex­pe­ri­ence this. Me, I’m just at peace that we stayed with soc­cer long enough that the kids could have some suc­cess.”

With an ex­tremely young team and nearly ev­ery sin­gle starter re­turn­ing to next year’s team, the fu­ture looks very bright for Lower More­land girls’ soc­cer. The Lady Lions are cer­tainly past the days of los­ing to schools like New Hope and Christo­pher Dock by scores of 7-0 – some­thing which hap­pened against both squads last year.

Against New Hope and Dock, the Lady Lions fin­ished the 2012 sea­son with a com­bined record of 2-0-2, win­ning and ty­ing against each ri­val school.

“We have dis­tricts still and hope­fully we’ll come in strong and show ev­ery­one that we can com­pete with bet­ter teams than we have be­fore,” Alexan­der said. “It was great to come in and show ev­ery­one this year that Lower More­land can still pro­duce re­ally good play­ers in this league.”

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