McDonald’s goal lifts Montoursville in big conference match-up

Montoursville had some chances late in the first half and early in the second half to try to get a goal, but Williamsport seemed to clear it out or an unlucky shot would ricochet off the post. In fact, the latter happened twice in a quick span.

But the Warriors kept at it, hoping that one shot would break through and put Montoursville ahead in a scoreless draw. Halfway through the second half, Montoursville’s Alivia McDonald had just that opportunity.

McDonald got a ball down to just inside of the 18-yard box and fired a great shot to the far left post. The shot was just out of the reach of Williamsport goalie Lila Vogelsong and it gave the Warriors a one-goal lead that held up as Montoursville won a key game in terms of its playoff hopes with a 1-0 win against Williamsport in a HAC-I match-up at Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.

It marks the second time this season McDonald’s come up with a clutch goal in a 1-0 contest.

“We’re so happy for her. She’s had two knee surgeries and has missed quite a few years here in recent years,” Montoursville coach Vic Gorini said. “She lost some speed and a little bit of her agility, but she comes up big.

“We’ve been coming very close and getting everything but the win so far, so it was important for our girls to finally get a W out there on the field tonight and not just play a good game.”

Montoursville (6-8-1) had two excellent chances to score against Williamsport (8-4-2) in the first four minutes of the second half. Bella Masias sent in a great shot from 25 yards out that hit off the left post and stayed in play. Montoursville’s Anna Schult was right there from four yards out to try to send it in, but it once again hit off the left post and went out of bounds.

“That’s been the story of our season, we’ve come really close but haven’t scored. Thankfully tonight one goal is all we needed,” Gorini said.

Both Vogelsong and Montoursville’s Avery Zales came up with some solid saves when needed.

Williamsport’s best chance at an equalizer came with 4:15 to play. Sydney Bruno lined up for a free kick from 30 yards out and sent it perfectly into the 6-yard box, but no Millionaire player was there on the receiving end in time to take a shot as it rolled out of bounds. Katie Penman sent in a cross with 20 seconds to play from down near the goal line, but Zales caught it before anyone could connect on a shot attempt.

Earlier in the second half with 27:40 to play, Bruno rifled a shot from 33 yards out, but it was just too high and sailed over the goal.

“We told them to shoot from distance. There was a good opportunity right there at the end by Bruno on that set piece,” Williamsport coach Scott McNeill said. “I think we wasted about 20, 22 minutes in first half, they came out with a lot more energy than we did.”

Neither defense seemed to give the opposing offenses many chances in the first half to fire shots, as the two teams combined for just three shots on goal in the first half. Montoursville ended with a 5-4 shots on goal advantage by the end of the game.

“We had one breakdown in the second half and then with about 15 minutes to go,” McNeill said. “We’ve been playing with the idea of playing with three up top because these teams that we’re playing a second time now.”

“We felt pretty good being tied at halftime. They looked a little fatigue as we did, too. We don’t have the second-half team as we did in the past years, but we felt pretty good,” Gorini said. “We’ve been in position to win just about every game, we just haven’t made that final tally to get the goals. Tonight was finally we worked hard enough and got one in and it worked out for us.”

Montoursville 1, Williamsport 0

M–Alivia McDonald, 20:23.

Shots: W 4, M 5. Corners: W 1, M 2. Saves: W (Lila Vogelsong) 2, M (Avery Zales) 4.

Records: Montoursville (6-8-1), Williamsport (8-4-2).