BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – Raeanne Laflame scored the Annville-Cleona girls’ soccer team’s first goal of the spring season, late in yesterday’s second half.
It changed the entire complexion of the game, and the demeanor of both benches. But it didn’t affect the result.
On Friday afternoon, on the pitch of Annville-Cleona High School’s stadium, Northern Lebanon defeated the Little Dutchmen 2-1 in a Lancaster-Lebanon League, intra-county match. But following the conclusion of the festivitiies, it felt like the roles had been reversed.
With the Vikings up 2-0 and seemingly in control with 6:36 remaining, Laflame won a 50-50 ball deep in NL territory. After drawing Northern Lebanon netminder Serena Donmoyer to her, Laflame chipped a ball past Donmoyer and into the far side of the net.
“No comment,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Andrew Raudensky when asked if Laflame’s goal had changed the perception of his team’s effort. Then following an exagerated pause, he continued: “We should have done better. We left some opportunities sit.
“At the end of the game, they (the Little Dutchmen) got a nice goal,” Raudenksy added. “But I didn’t want to give up a goal. We wanted a clean (score) sheet. In general, that game should have not been that close. We didn’t do the little things.”
Expectations and perspective.
“Times ten. Plus ten,” said Annville-Cleona rookie head coach Lisa Schuyler when asked to compare her team’s effort to prior ones. “It’s hard to show what you can do when you’re down 6-0. The girls did very well. These girls have it inside of them. They just needed to see what they can do.
“When it happened, I told my assistant, ‘My heart’s in my stomach, right now,'” Schuyler continued. “It was our first goal of the season. It showed the possibility of what we can do.”
Laflame’s tally also made a game-winner out of Viking Emily Brandt’s goal 56 seconds into the second half. Brandt made it 2-0 by picking up an A-C misplay, breaking in alone on Little Dutchmen keeper Aly Page and beating her to the left post with her right foot.
“Emily made a very athletic play,” said Raudensky. “A dynamic movement. It was a nice goal.
“Give credit to Annville-Cleona,” Raudensky continued. “They did a good job of putting pressure on the ball. They had a lot of energy the whole way. It made it difficult for us in the middle of the field.”
“Aly did awesome,” said Scuyler of her netminder, who was credited with 10 saves. “She’s had like 20 to 23 saves per game the last few games. She’s getting more fierce to the ball. She’s playing more physical.”
Viking Taylor Smith had given her team a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute of the match. Following some NL pressure, Leah Comiskey found Smith, who found the back of the net with a good hard shot.
“There was some build-up in the corner,” explained Raudensky. “We did a good job of winning a ball. Taylor Smith was on the six, and banged it home. It was one of our better goals of the season.”
“They had a couple of girls inside the box,” said Schuyler. “It was a little bit of a break down. But after the girls saw what they needed to do, they did it. One of their players banged it across the center and the kid hit it off her foot.”
Thanks in part to Annville-Cleona’s late push, the Little Dutchmen were only out shot by a 14-6 margin. At halftime, Northern Lebanon held a 7-1 advantage in shots.
Annville-Cleona did not attempt a corner kick, to the Vikings four.
“We talk everyday about pursuing excellence, in all that we do, on the field, off the field, in the class room,” said Raudensky. “The road to excellence is paved with good habits. We’re doing some good things, but my expectations are high. Right now, our focus is on the action steps of improving.
“At this point of the season we wanted to be at least 2-1,” Raudensky added. “Going forward we have some big games. What’s behind us is behind us. We need to take the next step. Our training habits need to improve.”
“I think we turned it on,” said Schuyler. “Unfortunately, we started the season against some bigger schools. Today when we played on our home field in the stadium, we did a lot better.”