So. Lehigh edges Blue Bombers
SALISBURY TOWNSHIP - Palmerton came into Monday’s Colonial League playoff game as the defending champions and looked to start its journey toward a repeat championship.
Unfortunately for the Bombers, Southern Lehigh had league title plans of its own and eventually prevailed in a hard fought 1-0 game that sends Spartans into the semifinals.
In their regular season meeting, Palmerton (12-6-0) bested Southern Lehigh 1-0, but Spartans’ coach Andrew Filler made some adjustments to the defensive scheme, and it worked to shut down the attack by Palmerton.
Neither team was able to get many high-percentage opportunities throughout the first half of the game.
But late in the half, Southern Lehigh was able to convert one of those low-percentage shots into a goal when Elizabeth Yazdanyar sent a pass over to freshman Hallie Thomas, who found herself about 30 yards outs, but with a clear lane to the goal. Thomas decided to take the opportunity and put a shot on goal, arching it high in the air and over the head of goalkeeper Emma Snyder.
“She made a nice play on that ball and put it in the right place. There was still a lot of the game left, so we thought we would be able to put something together and tie it up, but their defense played a good game,” said Palmerton coach Jon Perloni.
The offensive threat that Perloni looked for never came around as the Southern Lehigh (11-7-1) defense limited the opportunities for the Bombers attackers to get good looks on the goal. Goalie Ava Foran also made a couple nice saves on shots that did get through to further frustrate Palmerton.
As time continued to wind off the clock, Palmerton battled and came close to tying the score with 7:45 left in regulation when it got the ball to the open side of the net, but the shot went wide. In the final three minutes of play, Palmerton moved quickly down the side of the field and put another shot on goal, but Foran made the stop.
“I couldn’t have asked more of the team tonight because they played well,” said Perloni. “Some days you get those goals and some days you don’t, and tonight just wasn’t our night.”
The Bombers are eliminated from the Colonial League playoffs, but the season continues next week when they play in the District 11 2A tournament.
“We will use the extra time to practice and work on some things and hopefully, come out strong in districts,” said Perloni. “At this point, you just have to play day-by-day and be ready for whoever we play in districts and look to play well there and keep moving.”
MEANWHILE ... Southern Lehigh now gets the unenviable task of meeting top-seeded Northwestern Lehigh (17-1-0) on Wednesday night in the semifinals. The game is set to be played at Northern Lehigh High School at 5 p.m.