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Quicker Leopards pounce on Rebels

September 26, 2011|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG — The Smithsburg girls soccer team showcased its speed against South Hagerstown on Monday, outplaying the Rebels on both sides of the ball for a 5-0 MVAL Antietam win.

Senior Rachel Poffenberger opened the scoring for the Leopards (2-4, 1-2) in the sixth minute when a South Hagerstown defender inadvertently cleared the ball right to her for an open shot into the right corner of the net. Sophomore Justyna Jordan scored off of another bad clearance by a Rebels defender in the 39th minute for a 2-0 Smithsburg advantage at halftime.

“Speed of play is the name of our game, and that speed of play will only increase with experience,” said Smithsburg coach Victor Della Mea. “We have a young team, but its full of good technicians. They can find the open net.”

Smithsburg’s youth movement came alive in the second half. Freshman Rachael Faust sped past South Hagerstown’s defense for a 1-on-1 shot against Rebels goalie Alanna Thompson in the 59th minute, which she promptly launched into the left corner. It was déjà vu when Faust scored again on an almost mirror-image shot in the 62nd minute. Jordan capped Smithsburg’s scoring with another goal in the 79th minute.

“We’re starting five or six freshmen each game, along with a bunch of sophomores,” said Della Mea. “Seeing Rachael and Justyna take over like that in the second half just shows that this team is jelling.”

 Not only was Smithsburg’s offense on fire, but its defense clamped down from the opening whistle. Each South Hagerstown possession in Smithsburg territory came with four or five defenders swarming the Rebels’ ball handler. The Rebels (0-6, 0-4) only managed one shot on goal, which was saved by Smithsburg goalie Corinne Burk.

 While the Leopards did score five goals, they missed a few open shots — two on good crosses in front of the net. But to Della Mea, those shots will come in time.

“That’s a byproduct of youth and confidence level,” said Della Mea. “Once our younger players get confidence in front of the net they’ll see and feel the ball better, and in time their stats will reflect that.”

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