Girls soccer falls in overtime overtimes
It took two overtimes to finally decide a winner when Whitehall met Pleasant Valley in the opening round of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Girls Soccer Championship.
The winning goal came off the foot of Pleasant Valley defender Rylee Robinson. The victory put the Bears in the semifinals where they lost to Easton, 2-1. The EPC finals will pit Easton against Parkland, a battle of the two top seeds.
The Bears entered the tourney as the third seed while the Zephyrs had the sixth spot.
Head coach Chris Bleam said that they were only able to dress 13 players against the Bears who finished the season 14-3-1 which put them atop the Mountain Division of the EPC. He said that having only 13 players in uniform became a decided advantage for the host team as the game worn on.
“We got fatigued and they’re a very athletic team, so that really hurt us,” said Bleam.
Even though they couldn’t substitute as freely as he would have liked, Bleam said that his team gave it everything they had throughout the game.
“I was proud of our kids’ effort all the way through,” said Bleam. “They fought hard.”
The Bears made a concerted effort to neutralize Kate Bonshak, the Zephyr’s leading scorer with 17 goals. Bonshak was also an EPC first team all-star selection this year as a forward. Bleam said that the Bears consistently ran a number of players at Bonshak, with Addison Borger primarily marking her throughout the game. With so many defenders focused on one player, Bleam said that they needed to take advantage of the space it provided the other girls.
“We weren’t able to exploit that space that was created,” said Bleam.
Even when they tried, Bleam said that Pleasant Valley’s athleticism allowed them to close the gap against them.
The Zephyrs had survived a free kick in the first overtime as Robinson’s shot bounced off the crossbar, but Robinson made sure her next attempt in the second overtime was true.
Grace Clary had 13 saves for the Zephyrs, while Bears goalkeeper Mikaela Miller made 15 saves.
The Zephyrs will now prepare for district action that gets underway next week.