Girls' soccer: Trinity wears down defensive-minded Annville-Cleona
HUMMELSTOWN >> While pulling together in the defensive backfield and constructing an impenetrable wall in front of the goal was merely one part of Annville-Cleona's tactical approach, the other was to spring their blur up front once or twice and hope the remarkably explosive Reagan Hess could cash in.
And for some 38-plus minutes, those tactics worked wonderfully – Lisa Schuyler's Little Dutchmen were playing effectively across the back and they'd been able to put their top threat behind a really solid Trinity defense.
Unfortunately for A-C, that wouldn't be enough.
Theresa Durle pocketed a pair of finishes and Sam Coleman added one goal as Trinity downed the Little Dutchmen 3-0 in a District 3 Class A girls soccer semifinal Monday night at Lower Dauphin Middle School's Kreiser-Hallman Field.
The victory moved Terry Mull's Shamrocks (18-1-1) into Thursday night's District 3-A final at Hersheypark Stadium against York Catholic (14-4), a 7-1 victor over Fairfield in the other semifinal.
Trinity, the reigning PIAA Class A champs, also locked up another berth in the state tournament with its latest success.
A-C (14-8-0), which until last week had never won at the district level, picked up 10 saves from goalkeeper Anna Soliday.
"We knew we had speed up through the front and that's kind of what we were relying on," Schuyler said. "Hold as tight as we could in the back for as long as we could and try to distribute as quick as we could."
And they did.
Dropping at least five players back consistently in an effort to clog up Trinity's high-octane attack – A-C's wings tracked back consistently as well – the Little Dutchmen were resolute in front of the active yet sure-handed Soliday.
While the Shamrocks authored several quality scoring chances, nothing made its way into the net. And with just over six minutes to play in the first half, right back Kennedy Kreamer was able to free Hess and put her behind the defense.
Finally shaking free of the effective defensive cover provided by Emily D'Amico, Hess challenged Trinity's Amanda Knaub (1 save) with a shoulder-high rip. Knaub turned away the shot, keeping the game scoreless.
Hess wouldn't get another chance.
Some four-plus minutes later, Coleman's centering pass from the left edge of the penalty area found Durle all alone. One touch later, Durle's pop from some 10 yards out skipped past Soliday for the only goal the Shamrocks needed.
"It opened up our confidence," Durle said. "We had a lot of confidence after that first goal, so for like a minute, minute-and-a-half we were really pumped."
And that momentum continued to grow early in the second half when Noelle Dominguez's service from the left wing found Coleman at the far post some three minutes in for a quick nod and a 2-0 cushion.
Durle's offensive rebound with 5:28 to play made it 3-0.
Despite the loss, Schuyler remained upbeat.
"If you would have seen Annville-Cleona a year ago or two years ago, I don't think anybody would have looked at this team and said, 'Oh, they'll be in the district tournament next year,' or 'Oh, they'll be in the semifinals in the district tournament looking to get to that giant (Hersheypark) Stadium,'" Schuyler said.
"The growth that these girls have produced over the past two years is insane. It keeps going. It's not something that's going to happen overnight. You just rely on keep building and keep building and hopefully you'll see more wins as we progress from here on out."
Trinity 3, Annville-Cleona 0
First half — 1.T-Theresa Durle (Sam Coleman), 38:03.
Second half — 2.T-Coleman (Noelle Dominguez), 43:00, 3.T-Durle (Amy Corbett), 74:32.
Shots on goal — A-C 1, T 18.
Corners — A-C 0, T 11.
Saves — A-C: Anna Soliday (10 saves). T: Amanda Knaub (1 save).