Clarion River Valley Strikers U12 Girls Lose on Saturday, Win on Sunday (05/09/16)
(By Matt Lerch)
The Clarion River Valley Strikers U12 Girls team travelled to Warren Saturday to play a make up game from the first weekend of the season due to snow. The Strikers also hosted the Penncrest Cambridge team at the Clarion County Park Sunday.
The first game in Warren against a very physical Kinzua all girls squad was the Strikers first loss of the season losing 3-2 against their toughest competition. The stingy Kinzua defense was difficult to penetrate as time and time again the ball was advanced by wings Parker Boyden, Joyce Kim and Liv Weckerly all of whom had shots on goal. But Kinzua struck first and shot a goal past goalkeeper Shawna Pack. This was soon answered by a switch kick from Reagan Pack to forward Evelyn Lerch who found the back of the net making the score 1-1. With only 5 minutes left in the period the game was evenly played as the rock solid defense of Riley Burford, Anna Gribik and Taylor Alston kept Kinzua honest. Kinzua finally found an opening and scored their second goal and soon after their third goal. With the game at the half, coach Kevin Griffin with the assistance of coach Thomas Hummel, made adjustments to counter the Kinzua offense.
The Strikers came out with new lift in their step and quickly found that the heat was not only difficult for them but for the Kinzua team as well. As in the past with many Strikers teams, the girls were able to call in reinforcements adding Lexi Coull to the lineup. Coull intercepted a pass from Kinzua deep in Clarion territory and found Lerch bounding to the half field line making a perfect pass. With Lerch off to the races dribbling the ball, she had one defender and the goalie to beat, shooting left and scoring. However, the press and urgency continued as Six Midfielder Korrin Burns shot several times in the second half only to be stopped by the goalie. With a minute left, goaltender Shawna Pack moved up playing fullback support as the defense pressed with the offense. With several opportunities, the ball never found the back of the net. It was the first loss, but best game of the season for the Strikers. Shawna Pack was outstanding in net, covering ground and making 11 saves over the course of the game.
Sunday was Mother’s Day, and the girls decided to give their mothers a gift of a win against the elite Penncrest Cambridge team. To add to their shutout total, the Strikers increased the shut outs to 3 on the season winning 2-0 at the Clarion County Park on a very windy but partly sunny day. The scoring started early in the second half as Burford found Weckerly open midfield. Weckerly then passed the ball to awaiting Striker Reagan Pack who kicked a left footed goal past the towering Penncrest goaltender. Gia Babington, was able to assist on many scoring opportunities as well adding a new dimension to the offensive attack.
Penncrest’s outstanding right defender shut down many offensive combinations. Lerch took goaltending duties in the first half and most of the second half stopping 9 shots on goal including a point blank penalty shot. Shawna Pack took over the net in goal with 10 minutes left in the game preserving the shut out. Korrin Burns added the insurance goal, shooting the ball from a hand ball penalty shot on the right side, over the tall goalie for a 2-0 score improving the girls record to 4-1.
Next week is make or break for this group of girls as they take on undefeated Kinzua again at home. Playing their last season together as an all girls U12 squad, the girls hope to bring home a win, even though the fun has lasted over the years through losses as well as wins. And with new Coach Kevin Griffin at the helm, the U12 Girls magic has continued unabated.
(Thanks to Matt Lerch for this article and photos. Keep up the good work, Strikers!!!!)