nancy scholz/times news Rachel Werley of Lehighton (right) tries to get past a Southern Lehigh defender.
EMMAUS It was a year ago to the day that Lehighton had handed Southern Lehigh its first loss last season in the District 11 Class AA championship game.
Last night, the Spartans' Allison Newman wasn't about to experience the same thing in her senior year, especially when both teams were a game shy of playing in this year's district championship game.
Instead, Newman used the memory of that loss to motivate her in last night's district semifinal game at Emmaus High's Memorial Field.
With another undefeated season on the line once again, Newman prevented any such occurrence by scoring both of her team's goals to help Southern Lehigh (21-0-1 overall) advance to this evening's championship game with a 2-0 victory over Lehighton (9-9-3).
It was the first time in five years that the two teams didn't meet up in the championship game. The last time they met up in the semis was back in '05 when Lehighton advanced with a 2-1 win.
While Lehighton had won the last two titles, Southern Lehigh returns to the finals to face Moravian Academy, a 2-0 winner over Northern Lehigh, looking for its second district gold in four years.
"It was such a heartbreak last year after we worked so hard to get there," said Newman. "We remembered that (loss) from day one and we have been working hard ever since than to get back here.
"Now, we finally made it back to the district finals and we're ready to win."
In a back-and-forth battle in the first half, Southern Lehigh's Heather Smillie was the lone player to get off a clear shot on goal on either side of the field. Thus, the two teams stood locked at 0-0 entering halftime.
After half, Newman took the ball on her stick and created havoc for the Indians over the next seven minutes of play.
On the very first scoring opportunity for either team, Newman capitalized. She finished off the first of four Spartans' corner only 57 seconds into the second half.
In a scrum in front of the cage, Newman got enough stick on the ball to flick it over the Indians' keeper Kristina Schnell to post the game's first goal.
"We had a couple of shots on goal," Newman said. "We just kept trying to find the back of the net as much as we could. I ended up just finding a lucky corner on a short pass from Kelsey King."
Shortly after the Indians' Emily Kollar was denied the tying score, the Spartans raced down the field and it was Newman, who found the back of the cage again.
Right into front of the net, Newman beat Schnell once again for her second goal of the game. This one however, Newman stated fulfilled a game plan to its fullest.
After Newman made it a 2-0 game with 23:44 left in the second half, Lehighton tried to climb out of the hole. Seniors Sarah Keer and Lauren Michalik weren't about to end their final hack at districts without a fight.
Keer was able to get off two of her team's four shots on goal on the night, while Michalik fired one at the Spartans' net, but Southern Lehigh keeper Katelyn Arnold kicked aside any chances for an Indians' score.
"In the first half, we handled them well," Lehighton coach Lamar Long said. "If we wouldn't have broken down on our fundamentals like marking the circle or leaving girls open, she wouldn't have had the opportunity to create those plays in the second half. That's what it comes down to keeping disciplined on the fundamentals and not let key players like that open in the circle."