Bonshak scores OT winner
Kate Bonshak made sure that the Whitehall girls soccer team would remain undefeated, drilling the game-winner in overtime to complete the come-from-behind victory against Freedom last week.
A few minutes earlier, Bonshak scored the tying goal, sealing off the trailing defender and then maneuvering past Patriot keeper Jenelle Romig who came out to challenge the shot. That tally was her second of the night and knotted the score at 3-3.
That move was a prelude to the game winner in overtime as Bonshak once again used her speed to track down a ball, and then beat Romig for her third goal of the game. The hat trick came at the 5:04 mark of the OT and kept the Zephyrs undefeated, a streak they continued with a 9-0 win over Pocono Mountain West last Saturday.
The Zephyrs never led throughout the contest, and the Patriots were using their physicality to keep the ball in Whitehall’s end for extended portions of the game, especially in the first half.
Head coach Chris Bleam said that the Pates set the tone early with their physical play.
“I thought they took it to us physically in the first half,” said Bleam. “We got caught early not kind of pressuring the ball, and it was a goal kind of [that we] uncharacteristically allowed.”
Keeper Grace Clary, who finished with four saves, was active throughout much of the game as the Pates kept the pressure on Whitehall in their end.
Bleam applauded the way they fought back to tie the score, but about 20 seconds after that equalizer by Hope Millets, the Zephyrs allowed the go-ahead goal.
While Bleam said that it was a great shot by Haley Gschrey, he felt that perhaps his players were too complacent.
“Freedom took a lot of chances and pushed us around in the first half a lot,” said Bleam.
He said that the as the game grew more physical they had to adjust, and they did a better job in the second half negating some of that play.
“They did a great job in the second half and I challenged them, [saying] that we’re tiny, we’re a very small team, and they’re bigger and stronger, so we have to at least match the effort to make the challenges at the same points and with the consistency that they did. I thought they did that in the second half and it paid off for us.”
Bleam also said that the win served as a wake-up call.
“I was a really good learning experience for our team because we came out maybe a little flat, and Freedom was very up for the game,” said Bleam.
The Zephs had a number of scoring chances as Bonshak kept pressuring the defense throughput the match. At 16:35 of the second half, the junior appeared to have a surefire goal from close range, deftly evading the defender as she dribbled toward the net, but her momentum took her behind the goal. And even tough she had the keeper out of position with her move back to the box, the ball was kicked away by a Patriot defender inches before crossing the goal line.
Her first goal was a no-doubter as she rocketed a ball from about thirty yards away that sailed into the top of the net. She settled the ball, took a quick dribble, then fired a laser that arced over Romig’s outstretched hands.
Assisting on Whitehall’s four goals were Millets, Cassie Due, Sophia Pittas and Alyssa Marsteller.
Bonshak followed that up with another three-goal game in their win over Pocono Mountain West, giving her 11 goals on the season. In the 9-0 victory, Whitehall also got goals from Kylie Saliby, Ella Holmes, Hope Millets, Sofia Pittas, Elissar Khalil and Kasey Erwin.
They’re now 6-0 and have games with Parkland, Salisbury and Pleasant Valley scheduled for this week.