Millionaire girls fall in first round
Manheim’s Cashlin Copley stood alone on the 20 yard line stripe at Kenneth Robbins Stadium that doubles as a football field. She stood there with the ball tightly placed under her right foot as she was in no rush to shoot and Williamsport was in no rush to pressure her.
Copley then backed up and fired a shot just out of the leaping-reach of Kaylee Hornberger to put Manheim up 2-0 and that goal was the killer just 41 seconds into the second half as Williamsport fell to Manheim, 3-0, in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAAA championships Tuesday night.
“We weren’t really expected to win this game,” said Williamsport coach Scott McNeill. “I thought it was great to hold them to 1-0 then I wanted to break the game down to 10-minute segments and try to hold them and do some subbing. The killer was the first goal in the first minute in the second half. That was really a killer.”
This season had many firsts for the Millionaires as it won its first district championship and played its first state playoff game in program history. But Williamsport came up against a quick attacking and highly-skilled offensive team and couldn’t keep up.
Manheim scored at 9:08 when Brianna Bracero followed up a shot from Alison Heckman that deflected off the goal post and Bracero fired in the loose ball for the 1-0 lead. The Williamsport defense struggled early as it was taking poor angles and diving at the ball and Manheim was taking advantage with four shots on goal early in the half. But the Williamsport defense settled in the rest of the first half and started slowing down a very highly skilled offense that is averaging nearly five goals a game.
“The first half, I thought we played the first 13, 14 minutes scared to death. I thought we were really scared,” said McNeill. “We were just shying away from the ball and then we started to string some passes together, we got a couple of fouls; we got a couple of shots on goal. The rest of the first half I thought was pretty even then we came out and that goal in the second half really put a damper on it.”
An energized Manheim team came out in the second half and scored just 41 seconds in on Cashlin Copley’s goal from over 30 yards out and again at 52:20 on Kiersten Scott’s goal off a great pass from Bracero to make it 3-0.
Though Williamsport loses two key starters in Hornberger and Louise Lovecchio and first-year player Kailey Bain, it returns the rest of its starting lineup including leading scorers Samantha Reeder and Madison Bowman and a complete defense led by freshman Lydia Smith. So after a season of firsts this season, Williamsport could have another season of firsts next season as it looks to advance farther in the state playoffs.
“That’s the key, you take strides,” said McNeill. “Each year I’ve been here, we’ve tried to win more games, develop, work the girls in, and get more depth. We’ve been getting more depth and next year we’ll try to make it through states a little further.”
Goals: Manheim- Brianna Bracero (UA), 9:08; Cashlin Copley (UA), 40:41; Kiersten Scott (Bracero), 52:20.
Shots: M 19, W 3. Shots on goal: M 8, W 2. Corners: M 4, W 0. Saves: M 2 (Alison Quinn), W 5 (Kaylee Hornberger).
Records: Williamsport (13-7-1); Manheim (22-1)