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Palmerton edges No. Lehigh in girls soccer

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    Palmerton’s Mia Fantasia (8) dribbles the ball up the field during Saturday’s game against Northern Lehigh. Also involved in the play are the Bombers’ Hannah Bonser (left) and the Bulldogs’ Abby Merkle (11) and Kate Yesik (16). LORA GEORGE/ SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS.

Published September 04. 2018 03:55PM

Goals didn’t come easily in Saturday’s girls soccer match between Palmerton and Northern Lehigh.

The Blue Bombers got the game’s only goal from Carissa Fallon scored around the 20-minute mark of the first half.

The Blue Bombers’ defense made that standup for a 1-0 victory in a non-league game between the two Colonial League rivals.

“We seemed to move the ball pretty good,” Palmerton coach Chris Wrigglesworth said. “Our main thing was trying to block the balls through the middle. We tried to limit as many opportunities on the goal. The defense worked really well together.

“We were trying to get an extra defensive mid in there, just to kind of have a bit of reassurance for our defense.”

Wrigglesworth, who is in his third season with the Blue Bombers program, was pleased with the win in his team’s season opener.

However, it wasn’t a cake walk as Northern Lehigh created a few opportunities itself while the young Bulldog squad kept Palmerton close with several important defensive stops.

The Bombers missed a chance at adding to their lead when a shot bounced off the post late in the match.

Although the defenses controlled most of the game, both teams had a number of corner kicks. Neither was able to capitalize, however.

“We switched our formation up a little bit,” Northern Lehigh coach Jason Reinhard said after seeing his Bulldogs fail to score for the second time in two days. “We pushed everybody forward because we’ve been really struggling to score a goal. If we can get that one at some point, we’re going to be OK. Right now, we’re just struggling to find that first one.

“The backs played tremendously well for both teams. For exciting as a game as it was, there were really only a few legitimate chances. I’m incredibly proud of our defense. We’re starting three freshmen and a sophomore at back and a sophomore goalkeeper. And in two games, they’ve only given up three goals. Those girls are playing their butts off.”

Reinhard’s team enters the year after a one-win season in 2017.

With plenty of new faces on the team after losing several seniors to graduation, he is happy with how the newcomers have performed.

“The new kids have meshed flawlessly,” Reinhard added. “They found their place on this team already. Everybody is getting utilized and improving. That’s helping the whole team.”

LOOKING TO BREAK OUT ... The Bulldogs are trying to find some offense after a pair of close defeats. Northern Lehigh opened its season with a 2-0 loss to Catasauqua on Friday morning.

BUSY TURF ... Palmerton utilized its multi-sport turf field for the Saturday morning boys/girls soccer doubleheader after the football team used the facility for a Friday night game against Southern Lehigh.

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