Wildcats back on track

By Jeffrey Kauffman, Sentinel Reporter, March 27, 2009

Last updated: Friday, March 27, 2009 1:57 AM EDT

From start to finish, this was Mechanicsburg’s game.

The Wildcats rebounded from a tough 4-0 loss to Red Land on Tuesday with a 7-0 victory over Waynesboro on Thursday at a rainy Northside Elementary soccer stadium.“

Red Land has a great team and played well,” Wildcats head coach Tony Lougee said. “Tuesday was an eye-opener for our girls even though I thought we didn’t play terribly, but we didn’t play crisp. The girls kind of took it to heart.”

Mechanicsburg goalkeeper Nicki Keiser came off her line several times to snatch up errant passes and through balls, but really only had to make one significant save. Waynesboro’s Molly Sanders fired a shot from 25 yards out but Keiser punched it over the crossbar for a Maidens corner.

Mechanicsburg had numerous scoring opportunities early, but shots were sent over the top or wide of the net. The Wildcats finally got on the board in the 21st minute as midfielder Ariel Arnold fed a through ball that Ali Matisse deposited in the net.

Less than two minutes later, freshman Holly Burgard sent Alie Zelenky in clear but her shot to the far post just missed and rolled out of bounds.

Arnold added to the goal total as she sent home a deflection off the keeper for the 2-0 edge. They would add to the score about ten minutes later as Burgard knocked one home on a deflection off the crossbar on a shot by Brooke Denison.

Maidens keeper Amanda Ochoa had 11 saves, several of which could have easily been in the back of the net due to the wetness of the field and the ball skipping through. The game could have easily been in double figures without her.

The Maidens also played without two of their starters as Michel Sanders and Jenna Lininger did not play due to injuries.

Mechanicsburg’s midfield of Arnold and Matisse, and later Paige Alexander, continually sent their forward line of the Zelenky sisters — Jodie and Alie, as well as Megan Meteja and Taylor Jones — through on man-advantage situations. They capitalized on the situations as the Wildcats scored seven goals, all from this group.“

The kids came out and did what they needed to do,” Lougee said. “We can move the ball under pressure. Our young players played under control and composed and didn’t allow any chances. It was important for us to keep playing tonight. We don’t have a lot of subs. Waynesboro kept playing hard.”

Alie Zelenky added a second goal on a dish from Matisse and Jodie Zelenky, who draws a lot of attention from any defense, tallied a goal and added an assist when Alexander ripped a laser into the upper 90 in the left corner from the edge of the penalty area.“

We played much quicker through the midfield tonight, especially Jodie Zelenky,” Alexander said. “Our younger kids played well tonight. Our defense played well tonight and Nicki back there made a really big save on that one. I didn’t think she had that one but she just kind of knocked it over the crossbar.“

We played much better tonight than Tuesday. We didn’t play well that night but we had a lot of people who played on the weekend on club teams.”

Alexander led the defensive charge in the first half but she certainly had some help as Emma Galinski, Rose White and Kristen Fisher took charge and transitioned the ball from the defensive to offensive ends. They allowed the Maidens forwards very little room to operate and communicated well with each other.

Mechanicsburg travels to Lower Dauphin for a game on Tuesday and returns to Northside on Thursday against Chambersburg at 6:30 p.m.

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