The newly surfaced Northern Lehigh football field got its first real test when the Lady Bulldogs faced off with Palmerton in girls soccer action yesterday afternoon.
It was a steady downpour for most of the contest and it did not make things easy for either squad. However, it was the Bombers who were able to deal with the weather extremities the best, shutting out Northern Lehigh 2-0 to gain the Colonial League victory.
Palmerton dominated the possession early on in the first half and Brianna Doherty got the Bombers on the scoreboard in the sixth minute. Doherty was hanging in the middle of the Lady Bulldogs defense about 10 yards out when she received a pass from the left side, made a quick turning kick, and found the back of the net.
Northern Lehigh then started to apply pressure.
In the 26th minute Northern Lehigh's Megan Kutchera made a nice attempt at the goal with a chip shot from 20 yards out, but it sailed right into the hands of Palmerton goal keeper Courtney Getz. Erika Krawchuk also had a nice opportunity to score around the 30th minute with a tipped ball glancing right in front of her three feet from the goal, but Getz was able to quickly scoop the ball away before damage could be done. Lexie Merkle also had a nice shot attempt in the 33rd minute from twenty yards out, once again stopped by Getz, followed shortly by another Merkle run where she missed barely to the left.
The story on the day for Northern Lehigh was the inability to finish when they had the opportunity to score. They outshot Palmerton 13-7 in the first half, but just couldn't find the back of the net.
"We just didn't finish today," said Northern Lehigh coach Jason Reinhard. "We had chance after chance to score goals and we just couldn't get the break that we needed. We showed that we have the ability to get great shots, we just have to try to do a better job of putting them through. Either way the girls played hard today in this weather and Palmerton deserves all the credit because they came out and played aggressive and determined."
Neither team got anything going early in the second half.
Northern Lehigh's Kayle Blasiak came up with the first true threat to score in the second when she made a nice run down the right side around the 18th minute. Blasiak got the ball into the middle at the end of her run, but her shot missed high.
Palmerton's Sabreena Strauch might have had the nicest shot attempt on the afternoon at the 24th minute when she headed the ball beautifully toward the net, but Brook Seyler made a stellar save to keep the Bulldogs within one.
Then Palmerton put the game away with a little over eight minutes remaining when Doherty made a run at the goal. Her shot ricocheted off Seyler and Julia Paulinho finished the job with the score, helping the Bombers get the 2-0 victory.
"We played really well today and it was nice to get a win against them after they beat us in overtime the last time," said Palmerton coach Mark Weiss. "Our team is finally 100% healthy and now we have to try and build off this win. This was a hard fought win we got today and we really needed a game like this to boost our confidence a little. We're really looking forward to the rest of the season."