FREDERICKSBURG – ‘All of our opponents should beat us.’
‘Nobody thinks we can do it.’
‘It’s us against the world.’
It would seem that the Annville-Cleona girls’ soccer team is thriving in the role of the underdog. It’s a role that can take the Little Dutchmen far.
On Monday evening inside Fred Gahres Stadium, the Little Dutchmen again picked on another of its bigger Lebanon County siblings, shading host Northern Lebanon 2-1, in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three affair. Annville-Cleona netted a pair of goals 1:23 apart early in the first half, and then pretty much played the Vikings on even terms the rest of the way.
The win lifted Annville-Cleona to 8-3 overall and 4-3 in the section. Northern Lebanon fell to 3-7 on the campaign and 2-5 in the circuit.
“Did we expect this before the season? Absolutely not,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Lisa Schuyler. “We were ranked seventh out of eight teams in our section, and Lebanon Catholic was the only team we were ahead of. Every school in the section, besides Lebanon Catholic, is bigger than us. This is our third upset in our league. Nobody saw it coming, but it’s fun.
“My girls’ goal at the beginning of the season was to get to districts,” continued Schuyler. “Right now we’re ranked fifth (in Class A). This only helps us. It’s only going to push us closer.”
“Overall, I thought we played really well,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Lindsay Rayman. “They (the Little Dutchmen) scored their two goals in five minutes. We had a five-minute mental lapse. That was it.
“We are county rivals,” added Rayman. “And they were ahead of us in the section.”
All three of the games’ goals were scored during the opening 13:41, including freshman Morgan Dancause’s eventual game-winner with 27:19 remaining in the first half.
Julia Soliday originated the play by inserting a corner kick from the right. From a scramble in front of the Northern Lebanon net, Dancause took a quick touch and then squirted a right-footer through Viking net minder Marissa Yingst.
“It was a corner that was finished in front of the goal,” said Schuyler of Dancause’s goal. “We are learning what it’s like to score goals. We have close to 40 goals. The girls have learned how much fun it is to score a goal. They have found out it’s exciting, and they want to do more of it. These girls are connecting with each other.
“For us, this puts us at 8-3,” Schuyler continued. “We’ve never had a winning record before. We’ve beaten teams we’ve never beaten before, in my four years as the head coach. We’re close (geographically to Northern Lebanon). The girls know each other. The coaches are friends, and it adds to it (the rivalry).”
“I guess that’s soccer,” said Rayman. “After the three goals were scored, we both struggled to finish. But the run of the play was equal. It was a good physical match.”
After surrendering an even earlier tally, the Little Dutchmen got it back on a brilliant individual effort by sophomore star forward Reagan Hess.
During a Viking six-yard kick, Hess gained position on her defender and then intercepted goalie Yingst’s boot. Hess took two touches, and with Yingst still partially out of position, slipped a right-footer to the far corner of the net.
“Our first goal was just Reagan and her speed and finishing on the keeper,” said Schuyler. “Her speed is huge. Any team that takes that lightly will pay for it dearly.
“Quite a bit of our offense goes through Reagan,” added Schuyler. “She’s a key offensive player for us, just like Hannah Fischer is a key defensive player for us. A lot of times Reagan gets the glory because the ball goes into the back of the net. But that’s her job.”
Northern Lebanon assumed a 1-0 lead 7:02 in, on its first shot of the contest.
Jocelyn Arnold located teammate Kaitlyn Tshudy unmarked in the middle of the Little Dutchmen attack zone. Tshudy settled the feed and bent a hard left-footer just under the crossbar, and just over the outstretched arm of A-C keeper Anna Soliday.
“Jocelyn served a great ball,” said Rayman. “And Kaitlyn Tshudy had the smarts to rip one quickly into the goal. It was awesome.”
“We need to know what to do the next time we play them,” added Rayman. “It was a zero-zero game in the second half. We just need to figure out how to score.”
“You see what the other team has during the first 15-20 minutes of the game, and then make adjustments,” said Schuyler. “They (the Vikings) really concentrated on Reagan after that. But we shut down their offense as well.
“We’ve had better games,” Schuyler added. “But this is a tough field. We knew it was going to be tough. It’s always competitive with Northern Lebanon. We pulled the goals out we needed to pull out, and finished with a win.”
The Vikings’ best chance to produce the equalizer came 18 minutes before halftime, when an attacker clanged a ball off the crossbar. Though there was noticeably less action around both boxes in the second half, the flow of the play was generally equal.
Annville-Cleona out shot Northern Lebanon 10-8.
“Their goalie (Yingst) plays for me on our club team,” said Schuyler. “She’s strong, and has teammates on our team. They have some quick girls and good speed on the outside. They have good athletes.”
“We’re playing well as a team,” said Rayman. “We struggled at the beginning of the season finding the back of the net. But we’re doing a better job of that.
“Our goal is always to improve on the previous year’s record, and to improve as a team,” added Rayman.
Class A Power Rankings
School W L T
1 Trinity 9- 0- 1 .770886
2 Wyomissing 7- 1- 1 .666854
3 Fairfield 8- 1- 0 .631965
4 York Catholic 6- 2- 0 .624342
5 Annville Cleona 7- 3- 0 .561576
6 Halifax 7- 4- 0 .549697
7 Mount Calvary Christian 7- 1- 2 .547909
8 Millersburg 5- 2- 1 .521465
9 Tulpehocken 5- 4- 1 .504906
10 Lancaster County Christian 6- 3- 0 .492603
11 High Point Baptist Academy 4- 2- 0 .460635
12 Lancaster CDS 5- 4- 0 .428207
13 Camp Hill 2- 5- 1 .421542
14 Delone Catholic 3- 4- 1 .421453
15 Biglerville 4- 6- 0 .413499
16 Harrisburg Christian 4- 3- 0 .401101
17 Linden Hall 2- 2- 0 .397065
18 Kutztown 4- 5- 0 .373873
19 Hanover 1- 4- 0 .323950
20 Hershey Christian 3- 6- 0 .288832
21 Upper Dauphin 2- 8- 0 .278473
22 Lebanon Catholic 1- 9- 0 .268105
23 Antietam 1- 8- 0 .243998
24 Harrisburg Academy 0- 4- 0 .217800
25 West Shore Christian Academy 1- 7- 0 .206438
26 Christian School Of York 0- 9- 0 .195100