GOING FOR THE GOAL: Lake-Lehman Beats Redeemer, Chasing District’s Top Seed
FORTY FORT — The fall high school sports season is coming to a close.
Golf and tennis are already in the playoffs. The regular seasons in field hockey, soccer and volleyball end next week. It’s already Week 8 in football.
A team should know what it’s capable of by this point.
Lake-Lehman girls soccer is capable of greatness.
The Black Knights showed that again Wednesday, when Sarah Salus and Chloe Weaver scored 38 seconds apart and goalkeeper Emma Stroud put together a masterful performance, leading a 2-0 win over Holy Redeemer in Wyoming Valley Conference action.
With the win, Lake-Lehman (11-2 overall, 9-1 WVC) strengthened its top spot in the conference and district, as it is the defending champion in both WVC Division 2 and District 2 Class 2A.
“It’s our goal. We want home field,” said Lehman head coach Kelly Adamshick. “We like our field. It’s huge and gives some people some trouble.”
If Lehman wins its remaining four games — or even goes 3-1 — it should have a strong enough power rating to earn the No. 1 Class 2A playoff seed, which carries with it home-field advantage throughout districts.
Redeemer (9-4, 7-2 WVC) entered Wednesday as the No. 2 seed, but now, it will probably slide to the No. 3 spot behind Wyoming Area.
Despite Wednesday’s loss, the Royals came away encouraged with the result. Lehman beat Redeemer, 9-2, earlier this month.
“(Today) we were physical, we were aggressive going to loose balls, we stayed in the center of the field,” said Redeemer head coach Bob Hughes. “We made up for a lot of the mistakes we made in the last game. That was the big difference. It was a 3-2 game at halftime last time, and then we had too many mental mistakes in the second half that led to all those goals.”
Led by 100-goal-scoring junior Annie Bagnall, Redeemer’s offense looked fine and recorded 16 shots on goal.
When it was scoreless in the first half, Kasey Danko even had a pair of breakway attempts thwarted by offsides calls, as it appeared Redeemer would eventually score.
However, Lehman’s defense — anchored by Stroud and supported by players like Paige Motovidlak, Kitt Patla, Lauren Chapple and Salus — never allowed that goal.
“We’ve been gradually getting better every game,” Adamshick said of the defense. “We’re putting it together as a group — moving as a unit side-to-side and forward-and-back.”
Meanwhile, Redeemer’s defense was every bit as spectacular.
Lehman’s high-powered offense entered Wednesday averaging 9.3 goals per league game, but sweeper Carly Cavanaugh and freshman goalkeeper Marie Lombardi, who made 17 saves, were instrumental in keeping Lehman in check.
The Black Knights finally took the lead with 4:07 left in the first half, when Salus, a junior, shot a perfectly placed direct kick from about 25 yards out into the back of the net.
Lehman set the kick up with some trickery, as two players crossed in front of Salus, whose shot was just out of reach above the goalkeeper’s outstretched hands.
“Usually, I take our free kicks,” Salus said. “It felt like it was going in right after I shot it. I saw it go into the corner.”
The Black Knights added to that lead immediately, scoring 38 seconds later on Weaver’s goal assisted by Emily Smith.
The teams kept one another’s offense scoreless the rest of the way, as it was the sixth shutout for Lehman.
FIRST HALF: Sarah Salus (L-L) unassisted, 4:07; Chloe Weaver (L-L) from Emily Smith, 3:29.
Shots: L-L 19, HR 16. Corners: L-L 4, HR 1. Saves: L-L (Emma Stroud) 16, HR (Marie Lombardi) 17.
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