SCRANTON – Abington Heights used two long runs to remain a threat in the first round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAA girls soccer tournament Nov. 6 at Memorial Stadium.
Eventually, Lower Dauphin's attack overwhelmed and cornered the Lady Comets to produce a 5-2 victory.
Lower Dauphin did all its scoring on corner kicks, including three goals in the final 17 minutes to break away from a 2-2 tie.
That was what we knew coming in, Abington Heights coach E.T. Hunter said. They're an extremely organized team on free kicks and corner kicks.
It was not that we weren't marking; it was that they were so aggressive inside the box.
The Falcons pounded away with the game's final 15 shots after the Lady Comets forced a tie with 33:13 remaining.
Abington Heights, which has won five straight District 2 Class AAA titles, is still searching for its first state win. The Lady Comets were outshot 30-2 on the game and 15-2 up to the point when they forced their second tie with an effective counterattack.
Isabelle Clauss forced the ball upfield and joined Ally Christman in a race with the Lower Dauphin goalie and one defender. Clauss wound up in a collision while Christman successfully tipped the ball behind the goalie, leaving her all alone to place the ball in an open net.
Kylen Smith scored off a Rhi Miller assist on a corner kick 6:03 into the game to give Lower Dauphin the first lead.
Clauss broke down the middle to tie it on the only Abington Heights shot of the half just 3:25 later.
One of the things we'll take out of this game is definitely the rate of work we had for the entire game, Hunter said. We had an idea of how we would be able to stay in this game.
It wasn't pretty, but it was effective for us.
The Lady Comets nearly made it to the half in a tie.
Lower Dauphin took a corner kick from the left side, which resulted in a scramble among multiple players from each team before Naomi Giovino knocked it in for the Falcons in the final minute.
After Christman tied the game, Melanie Coles made four saves over the next 14-plus minutes to maintain the tie. She finished with 17 saves.
That's the best I've seen her play in the years I've been with her, said Hunter, the third-year coach.
Coles was unable to hold on to Samantha Hockley's header from close range off a Taryn Messick corner kick with 16:32 left.
The Lady Comets seemed ready to clear a corner with 9:20 left, but Messick kept it in play and nailed a left-footed shot from 25 yards out on the right wing into the far corner.
Haley Vozzella closed the scoring with 10 seconds left.