Article by John Tuscano, Pennlive.com/Photos by Dan Gleiter, Pennlive.com
For the full article and photos of the game, click here.
Mechanicsburg is not only zeroing in on the end of the regular season, but the Wildcats are also locked in on a postseason berth. Now all that remains for the Wildcats is getting healthy and playing good soccer.
On the strength of a dominant effort up front from Megan Mansfield, host Mechanicsburg turned back Palmyra 3-0 Thursday night in Mid-Penn Keystone girls’ soccer action at Northside Elementary School.
Mansfield opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the first five minutes and assisted on scores from Sami Powell and Kyra Skurcenski as the ‘Cats (10-4-1, 6-4) solidified their hold on third place in the Capital Division.
Palmyra (6-8, 4-5), which is outside the top 20 of the District 3-AAA power rankings, is running out of time with just four regular season games remaining.
EARLY WILDCAT SURGE
The hosts established the midfield right from the jump and wasted little time in cracking the scoreboard as forwards Emma Strong and Linsday Humes worked a one-touch, give-and-go that led to the game’s first big scoring opportunity.
Humes touched the ball out to Strong on the left wing where Strong was taken down inside the box for a penalty. Mansfield took the resulting penalty kick and buried it past Palmyra keeper Katy McClellan (6 saves) to make it 1-0 just 4:44 into the match.
DEFLATING GOAL FOR PALMYRA
After spending the first 10 minutes back on their heels, Palmyra found its legs and began to put together a handful of scoring runs thanks to some solid play from senior mid Lucy Krikorian. Her restart just outside the 18 was headed towards Mechanicsburg keeper Kylie Peters (4 saves) in the 10th minute, but the shot hit a defender on the way in.
Later in the first half, Hannah Soucy and Hailey Ebersole both had shots inside the box and both were blocked by ‘Cats defenders before they could reach Peters.
In the closing minutes of the half, Mechanicsburg struck again as Mansfield carried into the box and slid a right wing pass for Powell, who sneaked a shot past McClellan to make it 2-0 with 2:37 left. Mansfield assisted on Skurcenski’s goal early in the second half to close out the scoring.
POST GAME REACTION
“It just wasn’t our night. We weren’t connecting like we have in the past couple of games. Mechanicsburg is a good team, a solid team with a couple of fast girls and they just beat us with turns down the field. I told the girls that we have four games left and we need to finish this season being strong.” – Palmyra coach Katie Stafiej
“I thought we did a really nice job of spreading out the field and we were able to keep possession a lot longer [than we did in the first meeting]. They’re a very talented team, but we kept possession and moved the ball side to side and down the seams.” — Mechanicsburg coach Sean Cochran