Hawks fall as Judges score five times in second half
WINCHESTER – Skyline’s girls soccer team carried a one-goal lead into halftime after shutting out host Handley in the first 40 minutes of action Thursday afternoon. But the Judges could sense it was only a matter of time before their shots began finding the back of the net.
The goals finally came for Handley in the second half – and they came in rapid succession – as the Judges struck for five goals in a 19-minute span to rally past Skyline, 5-2, in Northwestern District action at the Handley Bowl.
“The first half, I mean we had a lion’s share of the possession, just creating opportunities,” Judges coach John Lynch said. “We made our shots a little too easy, or if we got a ball we just wanted a goal so bad we took kind of a panicky shot. But we regrouped in the second half, just looked at what were the opportunities? Where was the space available to us? How could we move some defenders? And the lanes opened up and we finished a bunch of goals. It turned out well.”
Things didn’t go quite so smoothly for Handley (9-3-1, 4-1 Northwestern District) in the first half, as the Hawks’ defense refused to break despite 13 shots from the Judges. Five of those shots came in the first six minutes of the match, forcing sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Heberle into four early saves.
Skyline head coach Kristy Beaune said the Hawks (4-7-1, 0-5) have grown accustomed to having to withstand attacking pressure like they saw Thursday from Handley.
“I think we played very well,” Beaune said. “I mean, you’re gonna have shots on goal. We’re used to that. … That’s why I’ve got a good defense back there and I’ve got a good goalie. We’re used to that kind of shots on goal, so that’s just the way it goes.”
Heberle was particularly busy for the Hawks in the first half, as she tallied nine of her 12 saves in the first 40 minutes of action.
“This is her first year in goal. This is her first legit on-field experience playing,” Beaune said. “As the season’s gone one she’s started to get more comfortable coming out and pressuring and being a little braver when it comes to coming off her line. So you can see that working.”
Skyline, which managed four shots in the first half, gained its only lead of the match in the 26th minute, when sophomore Abigail Brant converted a 5-yard shot off a cross pass into the box from teammate Katelyn Bolt.
That 1-0 advantage held until there were 25 minutes remaining in the half, when Natalie DeArment finally notched Handley’s first goal. The scoring sequence began with Kara Johnson’s corner kick into the box, which nearly resulted in a goal by Sarah Snow, whose weak shot bounced off the right post, the third Handley shot to hit the post in the first 15 minutes of the second half. The Hawks couldn’t clear the ball and, after a scramble in front of the net, it trickled out of a mass of players and across the goal line to tie the game.
The score, which Beaune said caused the Hawks to hang their heads, sparked three more goals over the next 10 minutes for Handley. Sophomore Julia Ricci gave the Judges the lead with a goal with 19 minutes remaining, and Katherine Nerangis scored on a shot from the top left corner of the penalty box a minute later.
Ricci’s second goal of the match, which came when Johnson’s corner kick glanced off Ricci’s side near the far post, gave Handley a 4-1 lead with 15 minutes to play.
Skyline cut the deficit to 4-2 when senior Taylor Ziemer beat Judges keeper Chloe Putnam (two saves) for a breakaway goal with 10 minutes to play. It was the Hawks’ fourth goal against district competition this season.
“I do feel very good. We have more district goals this year than we’ve had in any season (since I’ve been coaching), so that’s a big deal for us,” said Beaune, who took over the program in 2014.
Johnson capped the scoring for the Judges with a goal on a direct kick from the top of the box with just less than seven minutes to play.
Handley fired 26 shots in the victory while holding Skyline to five. The Hawks had just one shot attempt in the second half.
“The big difference was we just won balls, just being the first to it,” Lynch said. “Ruthie Rosenfeld does a fantastic job of winning the balls as our defensive center mid. I mean she will win every single ball out of the air with her head and that’s huge for us. Not letting a ball bounce is the biggest thing that you can do defensively.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org