Van Fleet’s header seals Lancers’ win

As Anna Burdett was starting to jog to the corner of the field to take a corner kick for Loyalsock early in the second half, Rhiallie Jessell went over to teammate Sarah Van Fleet and patted her on the back and told her that she had this one.

“I had my time last year, you got your headers now,” Jessell recalled telling Van Fleet. “Just bury it, get up and head the ball and put it in the back of the net.”

Van Fleet took Jessell’s advice and did exactly that, going up and sending a perfectly-placed corner kick into the back of the goal toward the right post to give Loyalsock a two-goal lead that the Lancers didn’t let up as Loyalsock defeated Montoursville, 2-0, in a girls soccer contest at Kenneth Robbins Stadium in a battle of two of the area’s top teams.

“Anna Burdett has stepped up really well as a sophomore taking those free kicks and stuff for us. Very accurate, has very good power and everything seems to be head level when it falls in there and Sarah being our other centerback, she kind of prides herself on getting a couple of those every season,” Loyalsock coach Ben Comfort said. “She has a very good knack for finding ball in the air and putting some pace on it and getting it on goal. Corners, that’s half the battle, get something on it and hope for the best. Fortunately we put one i there.”

Burdett’s corner to Van Fleet came with 32:11 in the second half that gave the Lancers the 2-0 lead over Montoursville.

While the Warriors got some pressure in the first half on Loyalsock, holding a 3-1 shots on goal advantage in the first 40 minutes, the Lancers didn’t allow Montoursville to get too many great looks.

“The quality of our shots were poor. On finishing end, we didn’t do what we needed to do today, but opportunities and our style of play and stuff, we’re pretty pleased with that. Hopefully it’s something we can build on,” Montoursville coach Vic Gorini said. “We were happy with the way we played. They scored two very nice goals. We didn’t capitalize some of the 1-v-1 opportunities we had, especially early on. Play-wise, we were happy with what we saw today.”

Loyalsock ended the scoreless battle with 7:03 to play in the first half when Jessell got inside of the 18 and managed to fire a great shot to her left, just inside the post.

“I saw Lauren O’Malley, great defender, had a little off touch up in air so I knew if I was going to get it at all I had to run through it. It was still up and she was on side, had to volley it out of air without even having it touch the ground,” Jessell said. “It turned out in my favor.”

In the first half, Kyleigh Balint routinely got some chances near the 18, but two of her shots were just off the mark and her other one was right at Loyalsock goalie Grace Schreckengast, who earned her sixth shutout of the season.

With 8:10 to play in the firs thalf, Montoursville’s Caroline King had a nice shot from outside of the 18 but it was Schereckengast who caught it and prevented the goal.

Loyalsock limited Montoursville to just one shot on goal in the second half when Balint got to just outside the goal box and tried a shot to the near post, only to have Schreckengast again come up with a block.

The Lancers nearly scored five minutes into the second half when Jenna Gardner got the ball about 13 yards out and sent a great shot to the right post. Her shot though hit the upright and bounced back into the field of play before being eventually cleared out.

Van Fleet though gave the Lancers the 2-0 lead three minutes later on her header.

“It allowed us to play more possession like not sit back on heels as much,” Jessell said of going ahead 2-0. “I felt Montoursville really had the game first 30 minutes and were possessing and getting around us and we just opened up in second half more.”

Loyalsock 2, Montoursville 0

L–Rhiallie Jessell, 7:03. L–Sarah Van Fleet (Anna Burdett), 32:11.

Shots: M 4, L 3. Corners: M 0, L 4. Saves: M (Avery Zales) 0, L (Grace Schreckengast) 4.

Records: Montoursville (7-2), Loyalsock (8-1).