MYERSTOWN>> Elco's sixth straight girls' soccer victory came Monday over Northern Lebanon in a match that had more than a few anxious moments.
Junior Raiders forward Jenna Oliviero scored two first-half goals to pace her team early, until Northern Lebanon junior Jess Batz found the net in the opening seconds of the second half to inject some life into the Vikings.
Then with 18 minutes left in the game, Elco's MVP candidate, freshman Ryelle Shuey, got tangled at midfield with another player and went down with an ankle injury. She tried to walk it off, but coach Derek Fulk was forced to remove her from the game.
Fortunately for Fulk, by that time Elco seniors Kaela Gettle and Kiyana Rodriguez added second-half goals and the Raiders managed to emerge with a 4-1 win.
"It was a good win for us," Fulk said. "Our two early goals were good. I thought we moved the ball around well. Jenna is a good finisher. She could have had three tonight if (Rittle) hadn't made a great save on her. We've been playing good defense, too. We missed out on our fifth straight shutout, but Northern Lebanon scored a good goal."
Fulk's club kept its share of the Section Three lead with a 9-1 mark in section play matched only by Donegal. The Raiders will travel to Donegal on Wednesday for a first-place showdown with the Indians. Donegal won the early season meeting at Elco, 4-2.
"I think we'll give Donegal a better game this time," Fulk said. "We certainly shouldn't lack motivation. They're the only team in the league that's beaten us. It'll be for first place. We didn't play our best against them the first time. We've improved defensively since then."
The Raiders gave up just three shots on Monday to the Vikings, who suffered their fourth straight L-L loss and fell to 2-8 and 4-9 overall. Some tight marking at midfield by junior Batz and Megan Brandt, along with some terrific defending by sophomore Jenna Wentling helped to neutralize Shuey, who entered the game with 16 goals and three assists.
"We came into the game aware of Shuey," Northern Lebanon coach Lindsey Rayman said. "Our game plan included stopping her, which we did. She didn't score. But you can't focus on just one player."
"We wanted to mark (Shuey) tightly," Brandt said. "She's a good player. We gave up the two early goals, which put us in a hole. Then after we scored, we started giving them too much space."
Oliviero got her first goal 1:21 into the contest off an assist from Rodriguez. She added her second at the 6:46 mark with the assist going to Taylor Bossert.
Elco 4, Northern Lebanon 1
First half — E: Jenna Oliverio 2.
Second half — E: Kaela Gettle, Kiyana Rodriguez. NL: Jess Batz.
Shots on goal — E 17, NL 3.
Corners — E 5, NL 0.
Goalies — E: Emma Strickler (2 saves). NL: Holly Rittle (13).