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Defense boosts Wildcats

October 27, 1998

Williamsport vs. GorettiBy MIKE SIRBAUGH / Staff Correspondent

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




WILLIAMSPORT - You can't beat good defense.

On Monday, the No. 3 Williamsport girls soccer team used its defense to earn a hard-fought 2-1 victory over No. 6 St. Maria Goretti.

Put the emphasis on "fought."

--cont. from sports page--

Both teams played a physical game, and, for the first half, the officials let them play without much intervention. By the second half, complaints from both benches compelled the referee to take a stronger hand in the game.

Coincidentally, both coaches disagreed with many of the calls that were made.

"I don't understand that call down there (a red card penalty on Williamsport's Sabrina Welsh near her goal)," said Goretti coach Mike Bowers. "I felt bad for their player. On the other hand, I thought one later should have been a red card instead of yellow."

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On the ensuing penalty kick, goalkeeper Nicole Leisinger made a terrific block in the left corner of the goal off a line shot from Allison Palank to keep the game scoreless.

Because of the penalty, the Wildcats (12-1-1) played much of the game with only 10 players and had to rely on an attacking defense.

Stephanie Ritchie put Williamsport on the board just before intermission with a shot into the right corner of the goal off a penalty kick. The 1-0 score stood until the 32-minute mark in the second period.

At the Goretti end of the field, the ball was cleared out of the left corner, heading for the center of the field. Brooke Weimer intercepted the ball just outside the left corner of the box, and, with a sweet left-footed shot, booted it in to put the Wildcats up by two.

Goretti (11-6-1) then changed to a 4-3 front to put pressure on the Wildcats and get more shots on goal. But the results were much the same as the early going, most of the action occurred at midfield.

"Our main job was to shut down their front line and midfield," Bowers said. "And we did a good job of that. The game was won and lost in the middle of the field."

Goretti's lone score came off a penalty kick from Erin Boyst that ricocheted off Leisinger's hands into the right corner of the goal.

"It seems like every time we play Goretti, it's a battle," said Williamsport coach John Weimer.

"This is a good way to end the regular season and get ready for the playoffs."

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