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Eagles walk Palanck

August 27, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

Gaels senior dominates offense in 5-2 victory

Allison Palank was a step slow, a little out of shape and without her best moves. The Hedgesville Eagles can't imagine what the St. Maria Goretti forward will do when she's back at full strength.

The Gaels senior scored twice and terrorized the Eagles on the offensive half of the field in the second half to lead Goretti to a 5-2 victory in the season-opening girls soccer game for both teams.

Palank is back on the prep pitch - albeit wearing a large knee brace - after having ACL surgery in November for an injury she played through last season.

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"It was hard to go through, really frustrating," Palank said. "It was just great to be able to go out there and play.

"The brace doesn't bother me, but I feel slower, and my moves aren't all back."

For all the negatives she could name, however, Palank's shot was as pure as it has ever been. Her big sweeping bender over Hedgesville's Tiffany Allen with 7:45 left in the first half evened the score at 1-1, and she closed the scorebook with a 14-yard laser off a give-and-go in extra time.

Erin Ryan also scored twice for the Gaels, who struggled in the first 30 minutes but ended up with 18 shots.

"There were first-game jitters," Goretti head coach Mike Bowers said. "We had a lot of first-game errors, but things should flow after this."

Things actually flowed well for Goretti over most of the field ... until the goalmouth. Allen, the Eagles' freshman keeper, was in control there, and most of her eight saves were of the near-impossible variety. The most impressive stops came with 8:30 left in the first half, when she stoned both Palank and Sarah Ryan from point-blank range.

"She was very good today," Hedgesville coach Sonny Tippett said. "She's as gutsy as they come. She'll take on anyone one-on-one. She's got no fear."

Neither did her teammates, who tied the score at 2-2 on a Melissa Tippett goal with 30 minutes to play. But they were worn down by a bigger, faster and older Goretti team.

"Allison and (senior sweeper) Erin Boyst, they make this team go," Bowers said. "Erin saved us at the beginning of the game. I think they've got more experience, and that made a difference."

"We didn't talk well," Tippett said. "With that many freshmen (three) out there, it'll happen. But I'm quite proud of them. The bad things they did can be fixed and we can build on this."

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