Dianna Connor has been scoring goals for the Pleasant Valley girls' soccer team all season long.
Thursday afternoon proved to be no different.
Connor scored three goals, all in the first half, to lead the Lady Bears to a 4-0 shutout victory over Pocono Mountain West in Mountain Valley Conference play. Teammate Emily Schlogl added a fourth goal midway through the second half to help keep Pleasant Valley undefeated in conference play.
"(PM West) played a different formation than a lot of other teams play," said Pleasant Valley head coach Tim Hinton. "They put a lot of numbers in the middle, so I knew if we could exploit our space we could get a couple of goals. We got a few goals in the first half, which was good. Not only did it settle us down, but it put more of the pressure on them.
"Once we calmed down a little bit we played better. We didn't change a whole lot in the second half. We just played calmer and more under control and countered when we needed to."
Pocono Mountain West hung tough in the first half. The Panthers were outshot by only two while out-corning Pleasant Valley 5-3. Still, despite their solid play, they would go into the break down by three.
Connor got the Bears on the board at the 22:41 mark when she scored on a breakaway. Schlogl booted a perfect lead pass to Connor, who outraced a West defender from the 25-yard line for the goal.
The junior scored her second with 8:42 remaining in the half. Aubrey Aldinger sent in a corner pass, which bounced over a teammate and landed on Connor's foot. Connor's shot high and off of the goalie's fingertips for the goal.
Less than two minutes later Connor completed her second hat-trick of the season. Kayla Kishbaugh made a nice pass from the far sideline to the middle of the field. Connor corralled the ball and went low and to the right for her 18th goal of the season.
"I thought we played very well," said Connor, who has scored in 11 of Pleasant Valley's 14 games. "We are starting to realize that what we learn in practice we have to put together in the games. We came out and knew what we had to do."
Dana McAllister, arguably the Bears' best player, was recently ruled through the MVC playoffs with a knee injury. Though McAllister's injury will force other players to pick up the scoring slack, Connor said it will have no bearing on the way she plays.
"I am just going to do the same thing that I do every game," Connor said. "I don't feel any more pressure. I don't feel any less pressure. I know what I have to do when I go out there. It is the same for every other girl on the team."
Schlogl added the fourth goal at the 20:26 mark of the second half. Maria Cimino carried the ball up field and led Schlogl with a pass. Schlogl then beat her defender and shot to the right for the score.
Goalies Sarah Elmontacir and Janelle Pastrana combined for the shutout. Elmontacir stopped all seven shots she faced, while Pastrana came in for the final 11:30.
Pleasant Valley moves to 10-3-1 (9-0). The Bears currently lead the conference, but have league games with Lehighton, Pocono Mountain East and Stroudsburg left on the schedule. If things play out the way they are expected, the last game between the Bears and the Mounties will decide the No. 1 seed in the MVC playoffs.
"The biggest thing is to just stay healthy," Hinton said. "We don't want our little bumps and bruises to get worse.
"We have to take notice of the things (the opposition) does and try different things. That way if we do see new things in the playoffs we can adjust quickly and know what to expect."