Friday, November 4

Last night, the Lady Comets found the courage to bounce back from some bad luck and continue what the Times Tribune characterized as an AHHS "run of soccer dominance." Abington fought off some early inertia and recovered to win its fourth straight AAA district championship, by downing a hard-charging Pottsville team 2-1. 

This was not the prettiest soccer we have seen from the Lady Comets this year. The team moved the ball well in the midfield, but looked uncomfortable in the final third. Part of this was due to the fact that Pottsville packed the box with players, and the Abington girls had to work harder to clear space. However, if truth be told,there were also some "uncharacteristically sloppy" attempts at finishing.

The Lady Comets did get on the board "early" but not "often."  Well, at least, they got on the board first. In the opening half, Maggie Scanlon hit a beautiful cross that found Alex Chapman in the box, but Chapman's header struck the post. However, in the very moment when the soccer gods seemed to frown on Scanlon, by denying the finish of her excellent cross, they smiled on Chapman and delivered the rebound straight back to the junior forward where she "bodied" the ball home from just off the goal line.  Abington 1, Pottsville 0. 

There was a fair amount of frustration washing around among the Abington attackers, because they were controlling possession and field position but were not able to score. There was probably enough blame to be shared among several players here. However, no one could find fault with the perceptive play of Scanlon, who--in addition to the above-described pass to Chapman--entered several more quality serves into the box that her teammates could not seem to finish. Scanlon is arguably one the best players in NEPA when it comes to taking the ball endline and driving "seeing eye" crosses into the box. She played well all evening long. 

Abington held its 1-0 lead into the second stanza, but Pottsville tied the score when a deflected ball allowed Kyra Bullino to hit a chip over Melanie Coles in the 57th minute of the game. The goal was the first Abington had allowed since Elana Falcone's tally in the last Scranton Prep contest, and it seemed to ignite the Lady Comets. After pounding the opposition goal, Abington finally broke through the Pottsville bunker, when Emma Black played a lead pass out wide to a streaking Katrina Helcoski, who stepped to the ball before her defender, pushed it forward on a diagonal into into the box and knocked home a low-liner from a tough angle. Helcoski had been shooting all night and had several similar opportunities, but she was determined to finish this time, and finish she did, to the delight of her teammates. Her concentration was evident. 

Due to Pottsville's highly-defensive orientation, the Abington full backs--especially, Sarah Sopinski, Izzy Clauss, and Lauren Hoyt--were able to get forward and into the attack; there were nice midfield reads by Abbey Burke and Emily Sullivan as well--and, when Pottsville did try to advance the ball, Sullivan and Burke steered the attack out of the middle. 

Despite the ups and downs of this particular game, the Lady Comets have so far put together a tremendous season punctuated by an outstanding record of achievement. The undefeated crew will now move on into the state playoffs with a game at Memorial Stadium at 5:00 p.m on Tuesday. Stay tuned to this website for previews and updates. In the meantime, after watching this team win 4 district championships in a row--and five of the last six--the only viable thing left to say is: "how 'bout them Lady Comets?"


Abington seniors celebrate