When a player is as dominant as Julie Cross was against Abington on Wednesday afternoon, it makes Upper Dublin really difficult to beat. Throw in an in-form Taylor D'Ginto and Rachel Difrangia and the Cardinals look formidable against anyone. At 3-0 in the Suburban One American, they seem to be hitting their stride.
The game was close early in the first half, but Cross erupted for nine goals and Upper Dublin eventually coasted past Abington 17-7. Abington played solid defense and hung on through the first 10 minutes of the game, but once Cross got going, the entire Cardinal team followed suit.
"Jules was on today, she was working really well with Taylor and Rachel,' Upper Dublin coach Dee Cross said. "She was stepping up and going to goal knowing that we needed this win.'
The Ghosts marked Cross and D'Ginto well in the beginning of the game. In the first 10 minutes, they combined for just one goal and one assist. However, Difrangia took advantage of the double teams on her teammates and scored three of her five total goals in the first half. It was of the utmost importance that the other Lady Cardinals stepped up when their stars were being well-defended.
"Teams usually focus on Taylor and Julie because they do the majority of the scoring,' Cross said. "We needed everyone else to step up and get involved and they did. Everyone wanted the ball. We put in a couple new plays and the girls started to believe in themselves as the game went along.'
Abington looked good on both sides of field in the early going. Jeannie Van Buren scored just two minutes into the game, the first of two in the half, and Sam McGee also scored twice. Although two goals from Difrangia and one each by Cross and Anna Trentini gave the Lady Cardinals a 4-2 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the half, the Ghosts were firmly in the game and playing well.
That's when the floodgates opened.
Difrangia scored her third goal and D'Ginto tallied her first before Cross ran amok on the defense. From the 7:05 mark, she went on to outscore Abington 4-1 by herself. Even with McGee's second goal with five minutes remaining, Abington went from down by two to down by six very quickly. Upper Dublin also started plating better defense and winning the majority of draws. A six-goal deficit may not be insurmountable, but it was gloomy foreshadowing for the visitors.
"The draw control was definitely an issue for us,' Abington coach Mary Kate Lomady said. "We had some minor mistakes in transition. We were just unable to make the adjustments to pick ourselves up and things compiled. Whoever possess the ball in a game like this is going to win.'
The Lady Cardinals picked up right where they left off after halftime. Difrangia and D'Ginto started the half off with a goal each before Cross buried a pair. Rachel Morris and Mikki Raymond pulled one each back for the Ghosts, but Upper Dublin was scoring at too high of a clip.
"The girls adjusted on the fly and trusted each other,' Cross said. "I wanted to make our non-league schedule really difficult and it got us back on our heels. I wanted it to help us, but it might have hurt our confidence a bit.
"We are going to learn each game. I don't know how good we are going to be, but I think they did some nice things today and I was really pleased with the overall effort today.'
Difrangia notched her fifth with 9:17 remaining, and Cross ended her big day with her eighth and ninth a few minutes later. Raymond also added another for Abington in that stretch, but that was all of the Ghost offense.
Abington, which came into the game 2-0 in the league just like Upper Dublin, will see this game as a wake up call.
"There are definitely some team issues that we need to address, but moving forward I would say that we need to learn to make adjustments sooner,' said Lomady said.