Montoursville's Lauren Walker approached the ball for a free kick in the game's fifth minute and sailed her delivery high above the crossbar. A second chance came nearly four minutes later, a few yards outside the penalty area, and this time the right-footed Walker sent the ball wide left of the post.
Frustrated and itching for a third opportunity, Walker received it during the 23rd minute after another Milton foul. The defensive back sat the ball a few yards inside the boundary between the benches of the teams, and took a long look down the field to her targets that held a solid height advantage.
Walker's third delivery was on target. The ball sailed toward Milton goalie Dani Lincoln, who couldn't secure the save. As the ball and Lincoln crashed to the turf, the ball fell away from Lincoln and by the feet of McKenzie Ruffing.
McKenzie Ruffing of Montoursville dribbles the ball downfield as Claire Wesner of Milton hangs on during the first half Tuesday at Montoursville.
Ruffing, who was playing higher on the Montoursville attack than in previous games, quickly gathered the loose ball and fired it past Lincoln for the first of two Montoursville first-half goals in a 2-0 victory over the Black Panthers on Tuesday.
"We've definitely been dangerous on set pieces all year," Montoursville coach Adam Scheibeler said. "Lauren's delivery has been fantastic for us and she's gotten a number of assists from it. She is kind of our go-to player for free kicks."
While Walker makes the deliveries, she was quick to credit her teammates on the end of those passes for their finishing touches.
"I was really happy with my front line," Walker said. "They always do a good job and hold high pressure. It may take us a while to find a goal, but we always find one."
And on most occasions more than one.
Carly Mill did the bulk of the work for the second goal. She carried a ball through the penalty area and collided with a Milton defender and earned a penalty. Mill was allowed to take the penalty kick and she struck a clean ball into the left corner of the net that shot back out after hitting the back post.
One of Milton's best scoring chances in the first half came off an Emily Mollica corner with under 10 minutes remaining. Mollica drove a ball deep into the penalty area, but Montoursville keeper Marissa Folk skyed above everyone and snatched the ball out of mid-air before a Milton head could make contact.
The Warriors (10-1, 8-1 HAC-I) had a golden opportunity to take a 3-0 lead late in the first half after Lincoln aggressively slid for a ball and missed, leaving the goal wide-open. Nicole Weisser, however, hit the ball off the post and Milton survived the late attack and trailed 2-0 at the break.
Montoursville possessed the ball early in the second, switching the ball from side-to-side. Neither team had many dangerous chances through the first 30 minutes before Milton (4-6, 3-4) made one final push. The Black Panthers sustained a lot of pressure during the final 10-plus minutes of the game, but Walker, Maddy Gorini, Jordynne Harvey and Kirsten O'Malley kept the Black Panthers chances outside.
"I think we lost a little bit of our composure for a while, but we stayed tough and grinded the game out," Scheibeler said.
Folk and Marlene Bassett combined on the shutout for the Warriors. They needed to make four saves.
"We kept pressure on them and kept their offense off the ball," Walker said. "I think we did great shutting them out."
Mtv - McKenzie Ruffing (Lauren Walker), 12:37; Mtv - Carly Mill (PK), 21:26.
Shots on goal: Mil - 4, Mtv - 3. Corners: - Mil - 1, Mtv - 3. Goalies: Milton (Dani Lincoln 1); Montoursville (Marissa Folk, Marlene Bassett 4)
Records: Montoursville 10-1, 8-1 HAC-I; Milton 4-6, 3-4. Next: Montoursville vs. Midd-West, Thu.; Williamsport at Milton, Thu.