October 18, 2018
By: Cassie Schmidt
On Tuesday evening, I was in charge of covering the quarterfinal round in the EPC girls soccer playoffs. This match-up consisted of the 7th-ranked Liberty Hurricanes and the second-seeded Whitehall Zephyrs. The Zephyr Sports Complex and the home field for Whitehall was where the action took place Tuesday, just as the sun began to set.
Winning against Liberty earlier this season, my expectations were on the Zephyrs to come out on top. Whitehall certainly came out calm and possessed the ball for the entire first half. They also led the way in shots, corners and free kicks. Though they looked like the better team, it took a while for them to finish. The 1-0 score came in the 23rd minute, Kylie Saliby on the corner kick and she could not have placed the ball any better. Hope Millets got on the end of it for the easy tap-in and just like that, the Zephyrs took the one-goal lead. The energy would actually drop for Whitehall and Liberty was able to get a few chances at net in those final minutes of the first half, but keeper Grace Clary kept the Hurricanes off the board heading into the break.
Out of halftime, Whitehall regained the energy and intensity and you could just feel another goal was coming. Another corner kick from Saliby and it was almost like deja vu.. Saliby connecting with Millets once more for the 2-0 edge with 30 minutes left in the game. The icing on the cake came just nine minutes later, when Kate Bonshak tried to weave her way past a few defenders and a lucky deflection put it at her feet and her finish was picture-perfect. A shot low, hard and across the face of goal was enough to give her Zephyrs the 3-0 lead.
Whitehall now moves onto the semifinal round to face a tough Nazareth team who is coming off an overtime victory against Easton. My thoughts on the matchup? Whoever wants it more will come out on top. When the postseason rolls around, teams either drop off or pick up their intensity and energy. Nazareth and Whitehall each with a win against each other during the regular season, so you know that both teams will come out fighting. In games like this it will be the team with a clean game and higher intensity than their opponent. We will just have to see! That game is slated for a 7pm kickoff at J. Birney Crum Stadium on Thursday!
Good luck to both squads!