Lady Bison blanked by Hopewell|
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
DUBOIS - Despite several quality shots on goal and quite a few dangerous runs into the box, the Clearfield girls soccer team was never quite able to solve Hopewell keeper Emilie Hovanec and the Lady Viking defense Tuesday evening in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs.
Meanwhile, the WPIAL runners-up finished off a pair of scoring plays in each half to earn a hard-fought, 4-0, victory that ended a historic season by the Lady Bison.
"We didn't get many bounces to go our way tonight," Clearfield co-head coach Tom Mohney said. "It was a matter of inches on a couple of our shots. We had one off the post, and their keeper made some decent saves in the first half. If one of those go in, it could have changed the momentum real quick.
"We played as strongly as we could have played. I think we were ready physically. We were ready mentally. I think that was our game. We played how well we could play, and it was a tight match."
Each team registered just one shot on goal through the first 15 minutes of play as both defenses were stopping every offensive advance.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bison, the first foul called in the game occurred just outside the 18 and to the left of Lady Bison keeper Kelsey Greenland, setting up a very dangerous opportunity for Hopewell.
Lady Viking senior Lauren Krawchyk took the free kick and drilled the ball off the inside of the far post and crossbar. The ball caromed straight down and found its way across the goal line for the first score of the game at 16:18.
Hopewell added another one at 31:47 when the Clearfield defense lost track of Chloe Work, who found herself all alone with the ball at the 6.
She fired a quick shot to the right of a sprawling Greenland and caught the top corner of the net inside the far post to up the Lady Viking advantage to 2-0.
Hopewell took that 2-goal lead into the break. It also held a 9-3 advantage in shots in the half and took six corner kicks to Clearfield's one.
But the Lady Bison knew they were just one break away from making a game of it and were confident they could turn the tables in the second half.
Carlee Freeberg nearly gave Clearfield that crucial, momentum-swinging tally right off the bat.
She ran into the Hopewell end immediately off the opening second-half kickoff and was able to control the ball and fire off a pair of shots in the first 30 seconds of play.
Her first shot, which looked destined for the lower corner of the near post, was deflected by a Hopewell defender, and her rebound shot clanged off the post. A scrum ensued in front of Hovanec before a Lady Viking was able to clear the ball out of danger.
"Down 2-0 at halftime we knew we were still in this game," Mohney said. "It was just a matter of getting one run and one shot on goal. And within 30 seconds we have a shot go off the post. That was a momentum-changer."
Neither team was able to generate a shot on goal for the next 20 minutes until Hopewell's Chelsea Sandy cranked one from just inside the 18 toward the top corner. But Greenland leaped and sprawled and was able to knock the ball into the corner and out of danger.
Lady Bison defender Kara Thorp helped out her keeper moments later when she stepped in front of what looked like a good shot toward the unattended corner and blasted the ball back toward midfield.
Clearfield's Katelyn Ryan made a similar play midway through the first half, lunging to make a kick save of a shot set up off a Lady Viking corner kick.
Ryan was one of several underclassmen who performed well in extended minutes during Tuesday's game, giving the Lady Bison a glimmer of what to expect next season.
"Next year should be an exciting year," Mohney said. "We have a number of girls coming back who got experience this year, and we have a number of girls coming up from the middle school.
"Even though we were heavy, senior-laden, we still had enough underclassmen that saw quality time that will be a strong core for the next few years. I think things are looking good for next year."
Hopewell netted its third goal at 64:00 when Nicole Grimm finished a cross pass from Shannon Shawgo, and Abby Losco finalized the scoring less than three minutes later on a great, individual effort.
Losco got control of a 50-50 ball near the Lady Bison 25 and moved it all the way inside the 10, sidestepping a pair of Lady Bison defenders along the way before connecting at 66:29.
"They played very well," Mohney said of the Lady Vikings. "They played a very intelligent, possession game. And they finished when they needed to. They are a quality club. It will be interesting to see how far they go."
Hopewell is back in action Saturday against Dallas at a site and time to be determined. Dallas defeated Northern York on penalty kicks after the game went through regulation and two overtimes tied 1-1.
Clearfield ends its wildly successful season with a record of 19-1.
"It was a successful season," Lady Bison co-head coach Leslie Grice said. "The girls can definitely hold their heads high. They played well tonight. We couldn't have asked for anything more. It was a joy to be with them this season."
"We are just so proud of the girls," Mohney said. "It was a success. In our minds, it was a very successful season."
Hopewell 4, Clearfield 0
1. Lauren Krawchyk, (direct kick), 16:18.
2. Chloe Work, (unassisted), 31:47.
3. Nicole Grimm, (Shannon Shawgo), 64:00.
4. Abby Losco, (unassisted), 66:29.
Shots: Hopewell 13, Clearfield 4.
Saves: Hopewell (Emile Hovanec) 4; Clearfield (Kelsey Greenland) 8.
Corner kicks: Hopewell 7, Clearfield 3.