CLARKS SUMMIT — It only took the Lady Comets seven minutes to find the back of the net against Lackawanna League rival, Wallenpaupack last Friday.
Despite taking an early lead, the Abington Heights team couldn’t hold off Wallenpaupack as the Lady Comets fell 4-2 at the Clarks Summit Elementary Field.
Sophomore Riley Mulherin gave Abington a 1-0 lead when she finished a pass from junior Morghan Stiles at the 33:03 minute mark. Wallenpaupack rebounded less than three minutes later as senior Rachael Tirjan fed Mackenzie Turner to tie the game 1-1.
It may have seemed like deja vu, as Turner finished another pass from Tirjan just 15 minutes later to put the Buckhorns up 2-1.
“Offensively, moving Kenzie Turner up to striker gave Rachael [Tirjan] an option,” said Wallenpaupack head coach Alicia Sodano. “Kenz has been a beast offensively and she and Rach just work so well together.”
Through the years, Abington Heights and Wallenpaupack have proven to be tough rivals, as they each won one game in their two head to head match ups last season.
Sodano often knows what to expect each time they take the field against the Lady Comets.
“They always move the ball so well,” she said. “Defensively we just tried to stay with them, but we tended to lose our marks. Defensively we had to make sure we found our marks.”
Abington Heights head coach Errol Mannick is confident his squad will grow as the season progresses.
“We’re inexperienced in the varsity game of soccer, he said. “If we can keep a good attitude and work on trying to fix our mistakes ... then we can start to make some moves.”
The Lady Comets rallied back to tie the game 2-2 with just more than seven minutes left in the first half. Stiles scored unassisted after collecting a rebound from her own corner kick.
Abington Heights sophomore goalkeeper Abbey Steenback had seven saves. Wallenpaupack received second-half goals from freshman Devon Kiesendahl and sophomore Katie Mancino, and the Comets could not respond. The Buckhorns out shot the Comets 18-8.
Of Abington’s total, eight shots, Stiles and Mulherin each had three.
“After they scored their first couple goals and it was tied we had to step up our game, and I don’t think we did,” Mulherin said. “We moved the ball better than usual and we communicated, but we definitely have to win more fifty fifty balls in the air and get it out of the back a lot more than we have been,” she added.
Mannick said some minor technicalities need to come together but doesn’t expect them to be difficult fixes. His team’s effort, however, may have been the difference.
“The things that worry me is we got out-hustled very, very drastically. That worries me because that’s not something you can necessarily teach. It’s got to come from them,” said Mannick.
The Lady Comets’ next game is Monday, Sept. 17 at North Pocono.
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