Lions blank Indians
bob ford/times news Lehighton's Sarah Keer (left) and Moravian Academy's Brittany Onesto collide while chasing down a loose ball.
Scoring wins the game, but if passing the ball toward the opponent's circle fails, then the result will most likely be no scoring at all.
This was the Lehighton Lady Indians' dilemma on Saturday afternoon when they lost a District 11 Class AA semifinal playoff game to Moravian Academy by a score of 2-0.
"We were dribbling too much instead of working down the field to get in position to score," said Lehighton coach Lamar Long. "We have had trouble scoring all year and today we just did not create enough opportunities."
The Lady Indians found themselves in a hole early when Moravian's Katherine Kistler blasted a corner pass off the inside post of the Lehighton net for a goal with barely two minutes played in the game. The shot was so hard that it bounced from the goal and Lehighton questioned whether the ball had actually gone in, but the score stood to give the Lady Lions a 1-0 lead.
The sudden score did not seem to bother Lehighton. Just four minutes later the Indians created their best opportunity of the game when Sarah Keer slapped a backhander that was kicked out with a sliding save by Moravian goalkeeper, Greta Helvie.
For the rest of the first half, both teams played evenly in terms of field positioning and time of possession, but Lehighton could not connect on any sequence of passes to generate scoring chances inside the Moravian circle.
"I thought we handled their hit and run offense pretty well," said Moravian coach, Debbie Bross, whose team now stands at 15-6 on the season and will play Southern Lehigh on Thursday in the District finals. "We stressed to our players a sense of urgency but also to keep our composure while we pressured their defense."
In the second half, the Lady Lions continued to clog up Lehighton's passing lanes. Then, at the 14-minute mark, Moravian's Dana Turner scored her eighth goal of the season with a shot from the left side of the Indians' circle.
Lehighton had only one more good scoring chance with 12 minutes to go when Keer came out of a scramble to put a shot on net that was stopped by Helvie.
Though Lehighton out shot Moravian 3-2, the Lady Lions scored on both of theirs. Moravian finished with four corners to three for Lehighton.
"We lost in the semis last year too," said Long. "I think that the Colonial League has a higher oversll quality of play than our Mountain Valley Conference. And playing on turf is a whole different game than playing on grass. Our team struggled today to adjust to the speed of the game."
The Lady Indians, who finish their season with a 10-11 record, will see nine seniors graduate from this year's team.
"They were a great group," remarked Long. "I give credit to all of them, but I'd like to single out our goalkeeper Kristina Schnell. She was phenomenal in keeping us in games all season long."