Wildcats cruise in opener

By Jeffrey Kauffman, Sentinel Reporter, May 13, 2008

The No. 14 seed Mechanicsburg Wildcats opened their District 3-AAA playoff run with a 5-1 decision over Waynesboro at the Northside Elementary Tuesday night.

The win allows the Wildcats to move into the second round Thursday at 4 p.m at Hempfield against the third-seeded Black Knights.

Waynesboro (15-4-2) took an early lead in the contest as freshman Michal Sanders hustled her way onto a loose ball in the defensive third and was able to collect a loose ball and knock it past goalie Nikki Keiser for the early lead.

Mechanicsburg (16-5) had numerous opportunities but couldn’t put the final pass on the money. Keeper Amanda Ochoa for the Maidens had several key saves early to frustrate Mechanicsburg.

Allison Zelenky had a key chance as her blast short-hopped Ochoa but Ochoa was able to pounce on the ball just prior to Megan Keiser putting the ball away.

Zelenky took a through ball on the left wing from Ali Matisse and her blast from that flank found the far corner of the net over Ochoa for the equalizer.

“I thought that we were okay early,” said Wildcat coach Tony Lougee. “We did create some chances and we gave up a goal on a defensive mistake. The girls have been behind this year and have been resilient this year. It is much easier to play when you are ahead and we just wanted to play through the whole half. They have a good team and can score goals in bunches and we wanted to play throughout. Megan has done a good job for us this year with 37 goals. She has set the school record for boys or girls. We have been getting goals from different places.”

The fleet-footed junior Alex Brandt, who seemed to dribble the ball around through and under the Maiden defense did so in the offensive end and fed a pass through onto the foot of Ariel Arnold. Her right-footed laser found the upper right corner of the net for the second goal.

Moments later, the Wildcats upped the margin as Brandt split two defenders with the ball and found Keiser in alone on the keeper. Her low shot beat Ochoa for the third tally.

Midway through the final half, Jodie Zelenky drilled a Brandt pass into the upper right corner to join her older sister in the scoring column.

Brandt, who tallied four assists, found Keiser again for the fifth score. Mechanicsburg dominated the final half as the Maidens only found the shot chart one time. Keiser was able to handle high shot and Arnold was able to head a direct kick out of danger.

The Wildcat defense of Payge Alexander, Karissa Saultz, Jen Siler, Taylor Jones, Rachel Hutchinson and Emma Galinsky in the second half stopped every opportunity the Maidens sent forward.

“We have to quit using the excuse that we are young,” said Waynesboro coach Bryan Flickinger. “We lost Jenna Lininger and Olivia Shew to MCL and ACL injuries. These kids have been playing all year but we have been giving up too many goals which are effort things. We don’t have a senior playing right now and we got off to a good start and did some nice things. We got scored on and it went downhill form there. We made a mistake and they have a breakaway. I don’t want to take any credit from Mechanicsburg. They have a very good team.”

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