MANCHESTER — The clash with York-Adams League Division I rival Dallastown wasn’t just another game on the schedule for the Northeastern girls’ soccer team.
The match on Tuesday, Sept. 12, was special for several reasons.
For one, Bobcat coach Diana Collier is a graduate of Dallastown. For another, it was a chance for Collier and her deep and talented squad to make an early statement vs. a division rival.
Perhaps the most significant reason it was important for the Bobcats was that it came the day before what would have been the 17th birthday for Abby Osborn. The entire program honored Osborn, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident back in April, by retiring her No. 20 jersey before the season.
Fortunately, Collier and her club were able to check off all the boxes against the Wildcats.
Amanda Leisses got free on a breakaway attempt in the second half. After Leisses had her initial shot blocked by the goalie, the Bobcat forward corralled the rebound and deposited the ball into an empty net with just more than 29 minutes left in action. That tally was the only one of the night as Northeastern claimed a satisfying 1-0 triumph.
“(Wednesday) would actually be Abby’s birthday,” Collier said. “And that was her parents out there (on the field) giving out cupcakes, which was very nice of them. We wanted to play for Abby because if she was still here we would be celebrating her birthday on the field with her.”
Playing more defensive: While the Bobcats rode a high-scoring offense en route to a D-I co-championship a year ago with the Wildcats, the recipe for success this season will be markedly different. Without last year’s Division I Player of the Year Brittany Arentz, who tore her ACL the weekend before preseason camp started, the Bobcats will have to take a more defensive approach. So one-goal victories may become the norm, especially if Tuesday’s victory is any indicator.
“We were able to win games 5-4 last year,” Collier said. “But we’re not going to be able to do that this year. We will definitely have to rely a little more on our defense.”
The good news for Collier is that the program has been on a constant upward trajectory over the past few years. That elevation has been aided by the two aspects that every coach dreams of — quality and quantity.
“We keep building numbers,” she said. “In years past we didn’t even have enough (players) to have two teams. We’d be that program that would say ‘hey, we can’t play JV.' So every year we’ve been building numbers, but this year we also have depth.”
It is that depth that can compensate for the loss of a player such as Arentz, who will play at Kutztown University next year. Offensively, several different players, such as Leisses, will have to step up their games. Defensively, Collier is just looking for her squad’s experience to help put a lid o opposing attacks.
“We still have big expectations this year,” Collier said. “All of our starters on defense are returning players. We have a senior goalkeeper and two other all-stars from last year. So we’re hoping to have our best season ever (as a program) with shutouts.”
Both teams finished with just four shots on goal. The Wildcats actually held a 4-1 edge in corner kicks, but were unable to find a way to get anything past Northeastern goalie Rachel Reeser.
Susquehannock 4, Kennard-Dale 1: At Glen Rock, the Wariors struck twice in both halves. Taylor Tannura struck twice for Susquehannock, while Maddy Yoakum and Ashlynn Weger each tallied a goal. K-D’s only goal came from Hannah Alvez, which briefly gave the Rams a 1-0 lead.
Central York 1, Red Lion 0 (OT): At Pleasureville, Bre Sgrignoli’s goal early into the first extra frame was the only breakthrough in the contest. Central York dominated, out-shooting Red Lion, 18-2.
Gettysburg 3, West York 0: At Gettysburg, Sophia Kranius, Grace Floreck and Lora Bertram scored for Gettysburg. West York keeper Jenna Hockenbury finished with 13 saves.
Christian School of York 5, Lancaster Mennonite (Hershey) 2: At Hershey, Claire Harbaugh led the Crusaders to the road victory by scoring a hat trick. Also for CSY, Kendis Butler scored two goals and added one assist, while goalie Amani Monroe made 16 stops.
York Country Day 6, Hanover 3: At Hanover, the Greyhounds scored three unanswered second-half goals to capture the victory. Victoria Baker and Veronica Smith each scored two goals for YCD.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.