Williamsport uses strong second half to defeat Abington Heights

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com
Abington Heights’ Anna Marchetta, left, and Williamsport’s Mallory Pardoe work for possession of the ball during a non-league girls soccer game Sept. 29. - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal
Abington Heights’ Riley Mulherin dribbles the ball toward the goal during a non-league girls soccer game against Williamsport Sept. 29. - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal
Abington Heights’ Leia Parry sends the ball upfield during a non-league girls soccer game against Williamsport Sept. 29. - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal
Abington Heights’ Karen Daly plays the ball as Williamsport’s Kailee Helmrich defends during a non-league girls soccer game Sept. 29. - - Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

SCRANTON — Williamsport controlled the play in the second half and defeated Abington Heights, 5-2, in a non-league girls soccer game Sept. 29 at Scranton Prep’s Loyola Field.

Williamsport took an early lead when Kailee Helmrich scored off an assist from Madelyn Bain in the 15th minute.

The Lady Millionaires’ aggressiveness helped set up their second goal.

Williamsport’s Whitney Felix was fouled by Abington Heights’ Jenna Patel inside the box in the 27th minute and Sydney Bruno converted the penalty kick.

“We’re a transition team,” Williamsport head coach Scott McNeill said. “When we get the ball, we go on the attack and exploit our speed.”

Abington Heights struck for a goal in the 38th minute when Morghan Stiles scored from just outside the box off a pass from Karen Daly.

“We got the ball from the middle of the field to the outside and she quickly got control and made her move, which in this case was a shot, really quickly,” Abington Heights head coach Errol Mannick said. “The speed of that play was the difference.”

Abington Heights had a quality chance to tie the game two minutes into the second half, but Williamsport goalkeeper Lila Vogelsong made a diving save on a close-range shot from Riley Mulherin.

The Lady Millionaires took a 3-1 lead in the 46th minute when Kathryn Penman scored off an assist from Angelina Morrone.

Williamsport (8-1-1) added two more tallies when when Mallory Pardoe scored off an assist from Bain in the 50th minute and Penman scored an unassisted goal in the 67th minute.

Abington Heights (5-7) was credited with a goal in the 71st minute when a Williamsport player deflected a shot from Stiles into their own goal.

Abbey Steenback made five saves for Abington Heights and Vogelsong stopped four shots for Williamsport.

Mannick has been pleased with the improvements made by the Lady Comets’ defensive unit.

“Our two outside backs, Jenna Patel and Grace Phillips, have improved drastically since the start of the season,” he said. “They’re stepping up and winning a lot more balls. We also put Leia Parry in the back and that has paid off well. The main thing is they are playing more aggressive and they’re taking a lot more.”

The Lady Comets are in the midst of a scoring slump. After averaging five goals a game during a four-game stretch, they have managed just one — offensive goal — in their last two games.

“We’re having a big scoring issue,” Mannick said. “We don’t have that person who can consistently keep their focus and place the ball in the back of the net. We’re definitely getting better at it, but it’s not anywhere near where it needs to be.”

Abington Heights’ Anna Marchetta, left, and Williamsport’s Mallory Pardoe work for possession of the ball during a non-league girls soccer game Sept. 29.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_ABJ-G-Soccer-Marchetta.jpgAbington Heights’ Anna Marchetta, left, and Williamsport’s Mallory Pardoe work for possession of the ball during a non-league girls soccer game Sept. 29. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

Abington Heights’ Riley Mulherin dribbles the ball toward the goal during a non-league girls soccer game against Williamsport Sept. 29.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_ABJ-G-Soccer-Mulherin.jpgAbington Heights’ Riley Mulherin dribbles the ball toward the goal during a non-league girls soccer game against Williamsport Sept. 29. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

Abington Heights’ Leia Parry sends the ball upfield during a non-league girls soccer game against Williamsport Sept. 29.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_ABJ-G-Soccer-Parry.jpgAbington Heights’ Leia Parry sends the ball upfield during a non-league girls soccer game against Williamsport Sept. 29. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

Abington Heights’ Karen Daly plays the ball as Williamsport’s Kailee Helmrich defends during a non-league girls soccer game Sept. 29.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_ABJ-G-Soccer-Daly.jpgAbington Heights’ Karen Daly plays the ball as Williamsport’s Kailee Helmrich defends during a non-league girls soccer game Sept. 29. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.