Wildcats pull away after half

There’s a good chance that anyone involved with the Carlisle girls’ soccer team doesn’t think too kindly of the Keiser family after yesterday afternoon’s game.

After all, it was senior Megan Keiser and younger sister Nikki that plagued the Carlisle girls’ soccer team on both offense and defense Tuesday at Wilson Middle School.

The elder Keiser scored four goals for Mechanicsburg, Nikki nabbed 12 saves and the Wildcats turned a one-goal halftime lead into a 7-1 rout of the Thundering Herd.

“(Megan Keiser) obviously has great athleticism,” said Mechanicsburg head coach Tony Lougee. “She’s composed this year, she missed on her first breakaway but didn’t let it rattle her.”

After missing the goal wide-left on a break early in the first half, the senior forward received a pass from teammate Jodie Zelenky and beat Carlisle goalkeeper Amelia Bressler one-on-one with a nudge to the right corner to put the Wildcats on the board in the ninth minute.

With the wind at their backs, the Thundering Herd countered with a strong offensive series of their own. Less than five minutes after Mechanicsburg’s opening score, Carlisle senior Taylor Suskie connected on a waist-high cross from teammate Emily Martin to tie the game up at 1-1.

With seven first-half shots and two corners, the Herd’s offensive pressure helped keep the game close throughout the first 40 minutes. However, the Wildcats earned the 2-1 halftime advantage in the 32nd minute — Zelenky’s shot on an Alex Brandt pass hooked wide-left, but Megan Keiser deflected the errant shot into the lower left corner of the net for her second goal of the afternoon.

“I thought the second goal in the first half was (the most important),” said Lougee. “We came out and scored against the wind, that was huge.”

With the score still close at the break. Carlisle head coach Greg Clippinger was comfortable with his team’s effort. The offense had out-shot the Wildcats 7-4 and the game could easily have been tied if not for a leaping save by Nikki Keiser on a high ball from Herd senior Cassie Arnold.

“At halftime I thought we played a reasonably good game,” said Clippinger. “But they scored right away (in the second half)… we tried to adjust in the second half throughout the game.”

Maybe it was the field change, in which Mechanicsburg gained the second-half wind advantage. Maybe it was an increased sense of urgency to put the game away on the Wildcats’ part.

Maybe Megan Keiser’s two first-half goals were just a warm up.

Whatever the reason, Mechanicsburg didn’t waste any time taking the game away from Carlisle in the second half.

In the 42nd minute, Megan Keiser sent a close shot ringing off the crossbar. Before the Herd defense could even react — even before the crossbar itself had stopped ringing — Keiser put a head on her deflection and gave the Wildcats a two-goal cushion.

Less than three minutes later, Bressler’s block on Brandt’s shot deflected loosely in front of the Carlisle goal — a perfect opportunity for Megan Keiser to net her fourth straight goal and cap off a seven-goal, two-game performance to open the 2008 season.

“We’re two games in and I have seven goals, it’s kind of ridiculous,” said the senior forward. “We had the wind in the second half an I cleaned up some (shot deflections).

“I have my sister in goal, it’s nice to play with her and know we have a good goalie behind us.

”Sophomore goalkeeper Nikki Keiser gave her offensive counterparts plenty to feel comfortable about Tuesday. The younger Keiser saved 12 of Carlisle’s 13 total shots and, with the wind at her back in the second half, nearly sent a drop kick the length of the field.

Despite the 7-1 outcome, but coaches felt the scoring spread wasn’t an accurate representation of their teams’ relative abilities.

“I don’t think we’re seven goals better than Carlisle,” said Lougee. “I think it’s a good win but they’re better than that.”

“I think (the Wildcats) possess a little more athletic ability. We have to sort through some things, at times (today) were just tried to plug the dyke,” said Clippinger. “I think our girls will be alright.”

NOTES: Zelenky netted Mechanicsburg’s fifth goal on an assist from Brandt in the 48th minute… freshman midfielder Ali Matisse rounded out the Wildcats’ seven-goal afternoon with back-to-back scores — a header on a Zelenky assist in the 61st minute and on a Zelenky corner in the 65th minute… Zelenky finished with four assists and one goal and Brandt earned three assists… Mechanicsburg took 13 shots in the second half for a game-total 17… Bressler made eight total saves, six in the second half.

By Tom Ash; Sentinel Reporter; tash@cumberlink.comTo read article on Cumberlink.com click here.

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