MANCHESTER -- Diana Collier sounds like a coach two months into the fall season.
Her voice is a little scratchy. And she'd like to see some improvement out of her Northeastern High School girls' soccer team, especially after being held to just one goal in the Bobcats' last two games.
The most recent came in a gritty 2-1 defeat to visiting West York under the lights at Northeastern on Thursday night.
"I'm almost at a loss for words because all season we've been scoring three or four goals a game," Collier said. "Tuesday was the first game we got shut out and tonight we didn't score a goal until the last five minutes. We haven't seen that all season."
West York improved to 7-1-1 in York-Adams League Division II. With three games left in the league schedule, the Bulldogs trail Susquehannock (8-2) for first place in the division by two points (24-22).
The Bobcats, meanwhile, have lost their last two contests to fall to 5-5 in the division. Despite the recent losses, Northeastern has experienced quite a turnaround this fall. The five league wins are the most for the program since 1999. Collier, a 2002 Dallastown grad now in her third year coaching Northeastern, credits the improvement to being able to work with some of her players on a club team during the offseason. The Bobcats have also been aided by the emergence of sophomore forward Payton Hauck.
"Teams are shutting her (Hauck) down and now I'm trying to get other players to pick it up a little bit because they're double- or triple-teaming her," Collier said.
That seemed to be the case Thursday when Hauck scored Northeastern's lone goal with 4 minutes, 9 seconds left to play. The Bulldogs did a good job defending Hauck, but several other Bobcats squandered opportunities to finish in front of the West York goal.
"They had plenty of opportunities," said Bulldogs' senior goalkeeper Stevie Gross, who made 10 saves. "Our defense really needed to step it up and we did tonight."
Kimbrough: Northeastern outshot West York 11-4 and had six corners to the Bulldogs' one.
But the game was as close as the last meeting between the teams, when the Bobcats lost at West York, 3-2, last month. Once again, West York senior forward Shyanne Kimbrough continued her dominating play by scoring both of the Bulldogs' goals unassisted. The first came midway through the first half when she dribbled through four defenders and sent a shot from the left side to the opposite cross bar, where the ball hit and deflected into the goal.
Her second score came with 30:56 remaining after a scrum for the ball in front of the net. Kimbrough now has 105 goals in her West York career.
The Bulldogs will next face Kennard-Dale twice before finishing off the regular-season league schedule next Thursday at home in a potential showdown against Susquehannock.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.