Lady Talbots clip Lady Rams in close section contest
With the second half of section soccer play underway, the Lady Rams hosted the Lady Talbots with each team looking to accomplish something different en route to a needed win.
Pine-Richland has played stellar defense much of the season but has lacked on offense at points. Hampton has been able to score but suffered a little on defense in a recent loss to Seneca Valley. With both teams trying to keep pace for a playoff spot, Hampton got one step closer with a 1-0 win.
Melissa Gorham knocked a score home early in the second half, and the Hampton defense did the rest.
“It was a typical Hampton: score first then play smart defense,” coach Frank Christy, Hampton said. “This year, we have been able to get the first score and play smart. Last year, we didn't.”
Last season was a rare miss in regard to the playoffs for Hampton. That miss has fueled the team this time around.
“This is coach Christy's last year, so we are doing what we do 100 percent,” Hampton senior Vanessa Ceravolo said. “We got off to a rocky start, but we came back 100 percent. We have to be a team on the field, and a family off.”
Both goalies played well, as Pine-Richland's Hayley Wessel and Hampton's Trisha Winters were in a real dual. They saw their share of shots, and Wessel made a diving save late in the game to keep it a 1-goal affair.
“Hayley stood on her head for us,” Pine-Richland coach Jodi Chmielewski said. “We don't usually give up a lot of shots, but she is a four-year starter and she sees the big moments.”
Winters said there are always some nerves early on, but once she gets her hands on a save opportunity, she is good to go.
“We are working well as a team,” Winters said. “Once I made the first save against Pine, it got easier and I was more focused … you always have to maintain focus.”
The way the standings look now is that Hampton all but has a playoff spot locked up (along with Seneca Valley). Pine-Richland is in a race with North Allegheny for the No. 3 spot.
“We can't sulk and mope for too long,” Chmielewski said. “I thought we were on track with the offense the last two weeks, and I thought we played well (against Hampton), but they just defended us well.”
The Lady Rams hit the left goal post with 10 minutes to go in regulation, and Chmielewski said her squad could use a little luck or a good bounce here or there, something they have not been the beneficiary of much this season.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.