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BY JEFF FALK

GETTYSBURG – At the beginning of the season, the Annville-Cleona girls’ soccer team was just trying to get its feet underneath it, it was trying to establish itself, it was trying to carve out its own identity. If you had told the Little Dutchmen then that they were going to reach the semifinals of the District Three playoffs, they would’ve taken it.

Indeed, the Little Dutchmen came far as a team.

On a misty Saturday afternoon at Gettysburg Middle School’s Warrior Stadium, Annville-Cleona met its fate during a 1-0 season-ending loss to Fairfield, in the semifinal round of the District Three Class A postseason. Most of the defensive struggle was contested in the midfield, before Fairfield was able to break through late in the second half.

With the result, third-seeded Annville-Cleona concluded its 2019 campaign at 12-6-1. Earlier in the year, the Little Dutchmen had finished second in Section Four and had qualified for the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs.

The outcome also made second-seeded Fairfield 21-1 on the year and qualified the Knights for the upcoming PIAA Class A tournament. Fairfield will play for the District Three championship on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.

“Basically, my expectation for the season was to teach them (his players) what I knew about soccer,” said Annville-Cleona’s first-year head coach Jim Blouch. “The girls were willing learners. They did a nice job of accepting what I was teaching them.

“When you’re coaching high school, you have the girls who come out to play,” continued Blouch. “There’s no recruiting. You take them and give them every opportunity you can. We tried to improve as we went along.”

“I thought our season was a success,” said Annville-Cleona junior goal-keeper Alyssa Ulrich, who, at times, single-handedly kept her team in the game with some spectacular saves. “We got really far. We lost a lot of people (to graduation) and we came back and went farther.

“We don’t just have seniors as leaders,” added Ulrich. “We have leaders from every grade. I think the chemistry on the team is good. We hang out and we’re friends off the field.”

With the Little Dutchmen struggling to piece together any consistent offensive attack, Annville-Cleona spent most of the game short-circuiting Fairfield runs. But with 16:44 remaining, the Knights finally uncovered a crack in the Annville-Cleona defenses.

Off a right-hand corner kick, Knight junior Naia Roberts served a perfect ball into the Annville-Cleona goal mouth. Senior teammate Annabel Anderson went into the air and headed the ball past Ulrich and into the net.

“We may have missed a mark,” said Blouch, “and the girl put a nice header on it. It was just a missed mark.

“Alyssa was it,” Blouch continued. “She is a very talented athlete in goal. I give her credit for many of our wins this season. She’s one of those goalkeepers, if you need a big save, she makes it. She plays big.”

“I’m always more critical of myself,” said Ulrich. “I thought I played well. I just wish I could’ve stopped them all.

“Obviously, my job is to stop the ball,” added Ulrich. “But other than that, I have to see how we’re playing. I have to talk to them (the players in front of her), direct them and tell them where to go. I’m our eyes on the field.”

The Little Dutchmen experienced difficulties possessing the ball in the Fairfield side of the field throughout. Fairfield owned the midfield and appeared quicker to 50-50 balls than Annville-Cleona.

The Little Dutchmen did not record their first shot of the game until 3:30 into the second half, when an attacker sailed a hard shot over the Knight crossbar. As time was winding down, Little Dutchmen leading scorer Mackenzie Hernley whistled a low blast on frame that Fairfield netminder Haley Bolin smothered.

“It was a good battle,” said Blouch. “They were a very good team and we battled. I would’ve liked to have seen a little more connection on our passes. But we faced a good opponent.

“We played a two-man front most of the season,” Blouch added. “We knew our offense wasn’t going to be overpowering. We scored when we needed to. Mackenzie and Trinity (Seaman) had their share of goals. But we played that formation to suit our personnel. It’s what worked best for us. It got us this far.”

“I thought we played well,” said Ulrich. “We fought hard. We had a good season that was kind of back and forth. We had to find momentum, and we found it at the end.”

The final stat sheet said that Fairfield out shot Annville-Cleona 16-3. The Knights were awarded ten corner kicks, while the Little Dutchmen took two.

Ulrich posted ten saves, many of which were acrobatic in nature.

“Certainly it was a success,” said Blouch of the season. “I have no disappointment with this group. They were a great bunch of girls. I have nothing but respect for them.”

“We knew coming in they weren’t a high-scoring team,” said Ulrich of the Knights. “But they don’t allow goals. We were in it the whole way. We thought we could take them.’

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2019 Annville-Cleona Girls’ Soccer Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
8/30
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at New Covenant Christian (Lebanon, Pa.)
8/31
9:30 am
Annville-Cleona
at James Buchanan
0
4
8/31
11:00 am
Fannett-Metal
at Annville-Cleona
1
3
9/04
4:00 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
0
8
9/06
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
0
2
9/13
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
2
4
9/16
7:15 pm
Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
0
7
9/17
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Pequea Valley
0
4
9/19
4:00 pm
Lancaster Country Day
at Annville-Cleona
1
1
9/24
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon Catholic
4
1
9/25
6:00 pm
Lancaster County Christian
at Annville-Cleona
1
9
9/26
4:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
1
2
9/30
4:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
1
2
10/02
4:00 pm
Brandywine Heights
at Annville-Cleona
0
2
10/04
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
10/08
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon
4
1
10/09
12:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
0
1
10/10
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Country Day
1
0
10/12
10:00 am
Annville-Cleona
Ephrata
at Cocalico
0
2
10/23
6:00 pm
Harrisburg Christian
at Annville-Cleona
1
7
10/26
3:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
Fairfield
at Gettysburg Middle School

PIAA District Three

Final Class A Power Rankings

ASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Camp Hill18-0-0 0.767095 1.000000 0.482432 19.0 160.7 0.0 172.4
2Fairfield18-0-0 0.759896 1.000000 0.466434 16.6 147.3 0.0 168.5
3Annville Cleona11-4-1 0.560426 0.661074 0.437412 9.9 123.7 5.1 159.1
4West Shore Christian Academy13-3-0 0.554601 0.746154 0.320482 9.7 79.8 3.3 169.2
5Lancaster Country Day School10-7-1 0.490837 0.537838 0.433391 10.0 125.9 8.6 164.6
6Harrisburg Christian School8-4-0 0.446370 0.543860 0.327216 6.2 58.0 5.2 119.2
7Mount Calvary Christian School9-5-1 0.418322 0.488971 0.331975 6.7 73.3 7.0 147.5
8York Catholic7-11-0 0.406975 0.372449 0.449174 7.3 141.4 12.3 173.4
9High Point Baptist Academy6-4-1 0.389388 0.437500 0.330584 4.6 52.1 5.9 105.5
10Lebanon Catholic School5-11-0 0.335006 0.255952 0.431627 4.3 118.1 12.5 155.5
11Lancaster County Christian5-9-0 0.292924 0.230263 0.369509 3.5 71.5 11.7 122.0
12Brandywine Heights Area3-15-0 0.290127 0.130208 0.485583 2.5 143.2 16.7 151.7
13Millersburg5-12-0 0.284516 0.191257 0.398500 3.5 114.3 14.8 172.5
14Linden Hall3-9-0 0.280296 0.214286 0.360976 2.7 59.2 9.9 104.8
15Upper Dauphin Area4-13-0 0.268408 0.154696 0.407388 2.8 118.6 15.3 172.5
16New Covenant Christian School4-9-0 0.253774 0.193103 0.327926 2.8 56.6 11.7 116.0
17Halifax Area4-14-0 0.253638 0.141414 0.390801 2.8 114.7 17.0 178.8
18Christian School Of York2-12-0 0.197627 0.100000 0.316948 1.6 61.9 14.4 133.4
19Harrisburg Academy0-10-0 0.123655 0.000000 0.274789 0.0 35.8 11.8 94.4
20Logos Academy0-0-0 0.000000 0.000000 0.000000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

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