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Bombers breeze in D-11 semifinals

There are many attributes that can make a profound impact on a team’s success.

Experience, talent and toughness can be important ingredients for successful teams in any sport.

Elite speed can also be a difference maker - especially in soccer. And if that speed can be found in almost every position on the field, then that team can be more than just successful.

It can be a championship contender.

On Tuesday, Palmerton showed it is indeed just that as the No. 2 seeded Bombers blanked No. 3 seed Pine Grove 4-0 in the District 11 Class 2A girls’ semifinals.

Palmerton’s (18-3) speed was on display early as it got on the board at the 33:33 mark of the first half. Freshman Nataly Walters screamed up the left side and rocketed in a score to make it 1-0.

Walters and her teammate, Brianna Moore, would create problems for the Cardinals all evening long with their speed on the offensive end.

“With Bri and Nataly’s speed up top, we knew we had an advantage there, especially with their defensive line playing so far up the field. We knew the through balls would be there for our scorers,” said Palmerton head coach Dave O’Brien. “We had a couple more chances in the first half after we got that first goal, but it was in the second half where we honed it in and we were able to convert.”

The Bombers’ second-half performance was the difference in the match as their offense overwhelmed the Pine Grove defense. Moore got things started at the 37:26 mark, taking a beautiful pass from freshman Ella Baumgardt and putting it in the net to make it 2-0. Baumgardt threaded the needle to Moore from almost midfield and Moore did the rest, outracing a defender for the score.

“I was able to steal the ball from one of their players, and I quickly looked up and I saw Bri sprinting and I saw the gap and I just went for it,” said Baumgardt. “I think we set a really high pace in the second half after starting a little slow early, and we were able to come away with a good result.”

Baumgardt then added a goal of her own a short time later on a nice left-footed kick on a quick turn from the middle of the field, which took the Cardinals defense by surprise and extended the Bombers advantage to 3-0.

Walters then connected on her second goal of the game to make it 4-0 with 25:05 to play.

“In the second half we came out and really picked it up. Our goal was to come out and control possession, and we were able to do that,” said O’Brien. “Our passing was great tonight. We were able to pass around them and get opportunities, and then we were able to finish.

“I couldn’t be more happy about the effort tonight.”

SHUTOUT ... Emma Snyder kept a good Pine Grove team off the board in the match with eight saves.

YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE ... Freshmen Walters and Baumgardt have both now scored 11 goals on the season. Senior Brianna Moore scored her video game like 52nd goal of the year.

NEXT UP ... Palmerton will take on No. 1 seed Allentown Central Catholic at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Emmaus in the championship.

Beth Morgan of Palmerton (left) controls the ball while being pressured by a Pine Grove defender. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS