Friday, October 18
abb burke
Senior captain Abbey Burke attacks ball against Dallas (photo: E. Black)

A strong second half from the Wyoming Valley Conference champion Dallas Mountaineers saddled the Lady Comets with their second loss of the season. There is nothing shocking about this. After all, losing to Dallas is not an anomalous occurance. Every team that has played Dallas this year has lost to Dallas, save the powerful Berwick Bulldogs--another top-of-the-mark soccer program--which escaped with a paper-thin 1-goal victory over the Mountaineers. 

In today's match, some timely attacking, and some accurate shooting, propelled Dallas to a 3-1 win and gave the Lady Mountaineers, not only their 15th victory of the season, but also some serious momentum heading into the playoffs. Dallas is a state-ranked team in AA soccer and is expected to make considerable noise in the district championships.

The Lady Mountaineers got on the board very early with a Talia Zsatkowski goal just a few minutes into the match. However, from that point on, Abington held strong and outshot Dallas 8-4 in the first half. Indeed, Sydney Emershaw provided four big saves for the Lady Mountaineers in the first stanza to hold the Lady Comets off of the scoreboard.

The second half was a different story. Dallas, not only outshot the Lady Comets in the second period, they placed 66% of their shots on frame and two into the back of the net. Although Dallas  put a lot of pressure on the Lady Comet goal, the initial second-half tally did not materialize until the 11:09 mark. However, this goal, when it did finally arrive, was certainly worth waiting for--it sprang from a nearly perfect cross and powerful finish with Zsatkowski serving Ashley Strazdus. 

One could see that this second goal energized Dallas, and they "ramped up" their already-aggressive attack. Consequently, just a couple of minutes after the above-described goal was put into books, Ruby Mattson added another goal for the Mountaineers to essentially put the game out of reach with just 9:50 left on the clock.

The Lady Comets did avoid the shutout by scoring a last-minute consolation goal. Isabelle Clauss drove her way through the Dallas defense and ripped home her 19th career goal with just 2:02 left on the clock.

There were intermittent rain showers during this contest; similarly, as if acting in harmony with nature, there were intermittent spans of quality play from the Lady Comets.

In fact, each team produced stretches of good soccer in this match. Dallas simply produced more of those stretches. The big problem for the Lady Comets this season has been inconsistency on both the offensive and defensive ends of the pitch. Although the Lady Mountaineers did play effectively in the second half; there may have been some times when the Lady Comets let up on the gas pedal, especially after they fell behind 2-0.

There are some talented players on the Abington roster who ran up against a very strong team today. So, as far as the inconsistent play is concerned, let us hope that what happens in Dallas stays in Dallas.