By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE October 25, 2005 Two first-half goals and a strong defensive performance were the keys to victory on Friday afternoon for the Monticello girls soccer team.
Agela Mack scored both goals and goalie Jackalyn Litwak did not allow the ball to enter the goal net as the Lady Panthers defeated the host Tri-Valley Lady Bears 2-0 in the championship game of the Tri-Valley Tournament. The semifinals of the event took place in the beginning of September, but due to regular season matches and school closings for religious holidays, the two teams could not meet to play for the tournament title until Friday afternoon.
Mack gave Monticello (6-7) a 1-0 lead when she scored 13 minutes and 54 seconds into the match. She sent the ball high into the upper right corner of the net from about 20 yards away.
At the 35:13 mark, Mack tallied what proved to be the final goal of the afternoon. She gained control of the ball near midfield and quickly dribbled the ball towards the Lady Bear goal. Moving between a pair of T-V defenders, Mack kicked the ball low and towards the far corner of the net. The ball eluded T-V goalkeeper Kaylie Ackerley and crossed the goal line.
In the second half, however, Ackerley prevented the Lady Panthers from adding to their lead by making some big stops. Ackerley ended the match with 13 saves.
But Litwak was just as stellar in the net.
T-V (7-7-2) sent several shots at the Monties goal in the second half in an attempt to get on the scoreboard.
Two of the Lady Bears best scoring opportunities came in the final minutes of the match. With about seven minutes remaining, Cindi Seibert kicked the ball towards the Monticello goal cage from about 10 yards away. However, the ball rolled just a few inches wide of the goal post.
Then with just 15 seconds left, Meghan Drown sent a shot at the Lady Panthers goal cage. But Litwak, who made 12 saves in the match, caught the ball before it got too close to the net.
The Lady Bears had a chance to tie the score at 1-1 a few minutes after Macks first goal, but could not convert on a penalty kick.
It would have been nice to score on that penalty kick, T-V Coach Mary Feusner said. It would have given us some momentum for the rest of the half and into the second half.
The veteran coach focused on taking some positives out of the defeat.
These girls played very hard, Feusner said. We held them scoreless in the second half. Thats something positive to build on for our next match.
Monticello Coach Paul David noted that his team focused on defense in the second 40 minutes of play.
Once we had that two-goal lead, we kept everybody back on defense, he said. We didnt want them to score because if they got one goal, they might have gained some momentum and scored another to tie the match.
David also complimented the Lady Panthers and Lady Bears on how well they competed.
Both teams played very well it was a great game, he commented. Both teams were very respectful of each other.
Following the match, a brief awards ceremony was held. The Lady Bears accepted the second place trophy and the Lady Panthers accepted the first place trophy.
In addition, several individual awards were presented. Mack was named the tournaments MVP and teammate Kristen Van Hage won the Miss Defense award. Mack, Van Hage, Katy Gonzalez and Darian Niforatos were the four Monticello players named to the All-Tournament Team. Four T-V players Maria Jeltsch, Heather McArthur, Kayla Scannell and Karyn Sheeley were also chosen for the All-Tournament Team.