Early momentum for the opposition wasn't an issue for Alonna Soars.
And despite the strong start by Hughesville, and a spirited second half, Soars proved to be the difference Thursday night as Loyalsock escaped with a tough, 1-0, win over the Spartans.
The early lead, although deflating at the time, was something Hughesville fought its way through to give Loyalsock all it could handle. The Spartans pressed the action throughout the second half, sending three shots on goal and playing a much more convincing half.
Both teams entered Thursday night's league showdown sporting a winning streak, but unlike Loyalsock, which entered with a perfect 4-0 record, Hughesville has struggled to find the same consistency of the top HAC-II teams.
In its first test, Hughesville (4-2) dropped a 3-1 contest against Warrior Run, but managed a late rally to grab a goal and build the team's confidence, which carried over for a 5-0 win over Muncy. And the momentum didn't stop after the Muncy game.
Hughesville attacked Loyalsock (5-0) from the start with Megan Shaner and Melanie Santo each posting a shot on target. Amanda Daneker was up for the challenge, a theme that would keep Hughesville off the board throughout the night.
"She's the safety valve back there," Loyalsock coach Ben Comfort said. "She kept us in the game tonight."
Daneker stopped six shots on goal, three in each half. Hughesville also missed three shots high in the second half that would have easily leveled the score.
"Tonight there weren't that many opportunities, it's not like we were horrible at finishing," Hughesville coach Murray Hanford said. "We worked really hard and did a lot of good things. If you play like that 95 percent of the time you'll win. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can say to me or the team that will make us feel any better."
And it's not going to make any of the Spartans feel better, but they outplayed Loyalsock, which was playing its second game in as many days, in the second half. Brittany Snyder and Alexis Avery attacked Loyalsock throughout the second half, and the midfield and defense made it difficult for the Lancers to connect passes.
"Give credit to Hughesville, they have some good girls that attack well and put Daneker to the test," Comfort said. "Our girls came through and we played pretty strong."
In a chippy contest, that saw Hanford pick up a yellow card in the first half, Loyalsock fought through the physical play of Hughesville. The contest fit Soars' personality and style of play perfectly. And it showed when she intercepted a ball near midfield and punched in the game's decisive goal with a shot to the far post.
"It was very important," Soars said of the goal. "Hughesville was holding their line really well and the goal was a real benefit to the team."
L-Alonna Soars (unassisted), 16:29.
Shots: L 8 H 11. Shot on goal: L 3 H 6. Corners: L 2 H 5. Saves: L (Amanda Daneker) 6, H (Allison Russell) 2.
Records: Loyalsock 5-0. Hughesville 4-2.
Next: Loyalsock at Midd-West tournament, Saturday, TBD. Hughesville at Mifflinburg, Tuesday, 4 p.m.