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Rivalry victory

Published April 27. 2012 09:48AM

Last time Palmerton and Northern Lehigh met, the result was a 1-1 overtime draw. There were no extra periods needed the second time around.

Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Bomber girls' soccer team prevented another overtime finish with a 3-0 Colonial League victory over the host Bulldogs.

"It was all about finishing today," Palmerton coach Barry Hahn said. "I'm really proud of them as they did what they had to do to get the job done today they finished off some opportunities.

"It was the outcome I was hoping for last time, but I will take it this time."

The Bombers struck first by finishing off on their very first opportunity of the game.

On a throw-in from the far sideline, Palmerton's Kylee Turko got the ball to classmate Catie Rinfret. Rinfret used some fancy footwork to get past her Bulldog defender.

The Bomber senior broke free and saw herself in a one-on-one with Bulldogs' keeper Kaylee Owens. Rinfret juked to the left and then sent the game's first shot to the right corner of the net for a goal with 33:03 left in the first half. Turko was credited with the assist.

After watching four other opportunities fail against the Bulldogs' defense, a pair of Bomber underclassmen stepped into the spotlight.

In a bit of a cluster in front of the Bulldogs' post, sophomore Sabreena Strauch and freshman Julie Paulinho capitalized on another opportunity.

Strauch pushed a pass through traffic in Paulinho's direction. Paulinho controlled the pass and then got enough foot on it to send the ball past Owens to the far right side of the net. Strauch was credited with the assist and the Bombers a 2-0 lead with 14:15 left before half.

Another underclassman put the game away with her first varsity goal.

Bomber freshman Kelly Westermann squeezed a shot between Owens and the near post to finish off the scoring.

"We have six starting players hurt," Hahn added. "We played with a very thin bench and most of the girls played the full game. It was nice to see two freshmen players score who primarily play JV and come in and add the spark. I was real proud of their effort today."

The Bombers outshot the Bulldogs 18-10 and held an 8-4 edge in penalty corners. However. The Bombers (3-8-1 overall; 3-7 CL) also capitalized on opportunities to post the victory.

Northern Lehigh coach Jason Reinhard saw the difference in the game as his Bulldogs (1-11-1; 1-9 CL) weren't able to solve Bombers' keeper Kelsey Eaton.

"It's kind of the story of our season," Reinhard said. "Finishing has been an absolute struggle for us. We don't have anyone that really has that killer mentality that you need out of a striker.

"It's hard to play defense the entire game and then when you have opportunities to get them, you start pressing and then nothing good comes of that."

Eaton finished with seven saves to score her second shutout on the season for Palmerton. Owens stopped 15 shots in the Bulldogs' net.

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