Clarion River Valley Strikers U12 Girls squad lose to Kinzua 2-1(05/19/16)

(By Matt Lerch)

The Clarion River Valley Strikers U12 Girls soccer squad lost a heartbreaker game to Kinzua this Sunday at the Clarion County Park 2-1.

(Photos by Matt Lerch) Reagan Pack

(Photos by Matt Lerch) Reagan Pack

This was the second loss to Kinzua by one point. The weather conditions were more suited for late fall or early spring as temperatures barely nudged 40 degrees with high wind. However soccer can be played in any weather provided the players and referees can still see the lines. If the Clarion girls could win this game they would be tied for first place in the league.

The Clarion squad was strong in the first half with Reagan Pack leading the charge offensively for the Strikers. Pack worked with Liv Weckerly, Parker Boyden and Joyce Kim upfront trying to slip one past the goalie. Pack had two stellar opportunities both of which were met by the goaltender.

(Photos by Matt Lerch) Anna Gribik

Anna Gribik

Left wing Taylor Alston saw two scoring opportunities stopped by the very tall Kinzua goaltender as well. Scoring chances were not going to occur often due to the inclement conditions and thanks to outstanding defense by Anna Gribik, Riley Burford and Shawna Pack the Kinzua squad only had 8 shots on goalie Evelyn Lerch. The half ended with the score 0-0. In the halftime huddle, coaches Kevin Griffin and Thomas Hummel encouraged the girls to keep up their playing level of intensity and watch for opportunities to occur and take advantage.

Evelyn Lerch came out of goal and Shawna Pack slid back from defense to goalie during the second half. After 10 minutes Anna Gribik and Joyce Kim worked to get the ball to Lerch who found the back of the net to light up the scoreboard first for a 1-0 Clarion lead. As the ball volleyed back and forth in the middle of the half, the Strikers clearly had Kinzua on their heels. But Mother Nature had a trick up her sleeve as a horrific hailstorm struck with stinging sleet and very high wind, blinding all without ski goggles for 10 minutes.

(Photos by Matt Lerch) Evelyn Lerch

Evelyn Lerch

Kinzua struck back as they found a hole in the defense to get a shot past Pack. As the spectators were on the edge of their seats, Lerch and Gia Babington went on two scoring sorties, penetrating the defense only to be stopped by the goalie. Midfielder Korrin Burns attempted to join the scoring action by taking a shot that was stopped by Kinzua. With 2 minutes left, Kinzua’s outstanding forward found an opening between two Clarion defenders and shot a left footed goal past Pack for the winning goal.

The U12 Girls squad has 2 more games left in the season and is still in second place. Their grit and determination has been again, as in past seasons, the driving force for such outstanding performance. As disappointing as this loss was for the girls, the score was not indicative of their drive and desire to win. The girls travel to Shanango Valley next Sunday.

(Thanks to Matt Lerch for the article and photos.)