It was an exhausting, grind-it-out style game.
Montoursville, playing its fifth game in eight days, slugged it out with Lewisburg, needing two goals apiece from Taylor Eshbach, Lana Spitler and Carly Mill to outlast the Green Dragons en route to a 6-3 win at McCall Middle School.
"They only had one day off and then had to get right back at it," Montoursville coach Erin Bennett said of her team. "I still don't think we needed to give up three goals. The fact that we scored six is great, but I told the girls as the competition gets tougher you can't expect to win and give up three goals."
Lewisburg keeper Sienna Fisher and Montoursville’s Carly Mill collide Monday at McCall Middle School. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
If any positives can be gained, it was Montoursville's (10-1, 7-1) ability to respond to those goals.
Each time Lewisburg scored, the Warriors responded to extend their lead within eight minutes.
"A lot of times when you give up goals the girls can't really get themselves out of that negative feeling," Bennett said. "The girls responded well. But we need to learn a lesson and eliminate that goal from going in so we don't have to worry about it."
Montoursville was forced into learning that lesson twice in the second half when Lewisburg (5-5) took advantage of scoring opportunities.
In need of something positive after the slow start to the first half, Lauren Gargano scored on a direct kick at 33:52 in the second half to give the Green Dragons something positive. Gargano's goal was set up when Montoursville committed the first of seven penalties in the half. After being called for a direct in front of the 18-yard box, Gargano popped a shot to the upper right corner for the Dragons' second goal.
"Our confidence at that time was sagging," Lewisburg coach Jose Vega said. "It was important to compete in the second half and get something positive out of it."
The early goal did seem to give Lewisburg some spark, which helped it double its shot total and scoring efforts in the second half. The Green Dragons were especially dangerous on free kick chances, producing a goal and two shots from three opportunities.
"It pinpoints stuff we need to walk through during practice," Bennett said of the of free kicks. "As a coach I know what we need to work on the next day."
Despite Lewisburg's extra effort, Montoursville had the answer with two Eshbach goals in the second half.
"Every time we got a goal they would put one right back," Vega said. "Whenever we did something they responded. Montoursville is a good team and we got outplayed."
After Gargano got the Green Dragons back into the game with her goal, Lana Spitler led a Montoursville charge to find Eshbach for an easy tap-in goal. Spitler then added her second assist when she hit Eshbach for another easy goal to respond to Lewisburg's second tally of the half and her third in two games.
"Lewisburg is not a team to give up on," said Mill, who scored two goals in the first half, said. "You can't let your head down. Even if you're up 5-0 you never know what can happen."
Spitler opened the scoring with a low, left-to-right effort to beat Sienna Fisher to the far post. She then ended the first half with goal, popping a shot over the keeper's head for a 4-1 lead.
"Right at the end, right at the beginning," Bennett said of the goal before halftime. "It's real important to have the energy and focus to do that. I'll take that any day."
M-Lana Spitler (unassisted), 3:09; M-Taylor Eshbach (Carly Mill), 11:52; L-Emily Cole (unassisted), M-Carly Mill (unassisted), 21:56; M-Spitler (Jordynne Harvey), 39:24; L-Lauren Gargano (unassisted), 42:15; M-Eshbach (Spitler), 54:00; L-Perrie Howard (Cole), 71:59; M-Eshbach (Spitler), 75:56.
Shots: L 20 M 16. Shots on goal: L 9 M 9. Corners: L 3 M 4. Saves: L (Sienna Fisher) 3, M (Marrissa Folk, Ally Yoccum) 6. Fouls: L 5 M 16 (7 offsides).
Records: Lewisburg 5-5. Montoursville 10-1 (7-1).
Next: Danville at Montoursville, Wednesday, 4 p.m.