Sullivan County’s Burke, Beinlich give Griffins one of area’s best offenses
When asked about how dangerous she and teammate Chloe Burke are, Sullivan County senior Bethany Beinlich just laughed. She knows they’re a talented 1-2 duo up top for the Griffins. Opposing defenses know they are. Just about every fan who has gone to a Sullivan County game knows it too.
“I’d say we’re pretty threatening to the defense,” Beinlich said after a 6-2 win over Muncy last week. “They always know when we’re coming on.”
That they do.
And that offensive surge Beinlich and Burke provide for the Griffins isn’t by coincidence. It’s all by design.
First-year coach Kelly Flottemesch loves offense, so it’s no surprise that’s the type of gameplan she implemented this year with the Griffins. And it’s worked well this fall.
“We switched it up this year. In the past it was more of a defensive game and I believe in offense. So we pushed up our midfield, we pushed up our back field and we’re really working at it,” Flottemesch said.
Beinlich has become a scoring machine. She has the second-most goals in the area with 34 — behind only Wellsboro’s Kerrah Clymer’s 35 — and is within striking distance of 50 career assists. Add in Burke, who has 18 goals and nine assists, and two are proving to be tough to contain. Try to neutralize one, and the other will strike.
The Griffins have been aggressive the entire season. It’s why they’re averaging 5.1 goals per game and almost 20 shots per game. As soon as Sullivan gets the ball, they’re looking to rip a shot as fast as they can.
“Every game we want to get as many goals as we can, and capitalize on everything we worked on with our new coach,” Beinlich said. “She really brought us up to this level and we’re trying to prove it to everybody that we can do just as good as we did (in past).”
Flottemesch was most impressed with the girls’ resiliency and adversity this season. They never let a deficit get them down. They continually play until the horn goes off.
“They’re phenomenal about it even if they get down, they push through it and they don’t let it get to them,” Flottemesch said. “The communication and teamwork is phenomenal this year. I’m very impressed with each and every one of them.”
As a team, Sullivan has scored 71 goals, and for Beinlich it boils down to she her teammates having played together since they were kids. So even though the roster is small, they’re familiar with one another and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
It’s partly why Beinlich and Burke always know where one another is on the field and have combined for 52 goals and 17 assists.
“Our chip-and-run game, that’s how I get so many of my goals because knowing we have speed in front, we just have to get it up from defense faster and not try to bring everybody up with us,” Beinlich said. “But our chip-and-run game is where we got to here. So we can really capitalize on that.”
They have definitely capitalized on it, that’s for sure.
Girls soccer Top 5
1. MONTOURSVILLE (9-4-1)
The Warriors are putting up tallies in the win column after consecutive losses against Lewisburg (1-0) and Bloomsburg (2-0). Since then, Montoursville is 4-1-1 and have shut out three opponents in that span. The Warriors also beat a good Southern Columbia team twice and blanked Selinsgrove before a loss to state-ranked Central Columbia on Tuesday.
2. SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT (10-3)
The Mounties blanked Sullivan County, 4-0, in a big statement win Monday in a Mid-Penn League battle. Aleigha Reippel was huge for South, scoring twice and dishing out an assist. The Mounties limited a very potent Sullivan County offense to just three shots on goal as Laila Shams recorded the shutout. After a season-opening loss, South Williamsport has lost just twice.
3. LEWISBURG (9-4-1)
The Green Dragons have suffered consecutive losses to two quality opponents. Lewisburg fell by just a goal in a narrow loss to state-ranked Central Columbia (3-2) and struggled to get its offense going against Southern Columbia (5-1). Sophie Kilbride scored against the Tigers. Don’t read too much into Lewisburg losing two in a row, though. Lewisburg is talented top to bottom and can make a deep run in districts.
4. SULLIVAN COUNTY (10-4)
The Griffins went 1-1 this past week, but lost to a very tough South Williamsport team Monday night, 4-0. Bethany Beinlich had three goals and two assists in a 6-2 win against Muncy, and Chloe Burke scored twice against the Indians as well.
5. WILLIAMSPORT (6-5-2)
After a bit of a bumpy stretch where the Millionaires lost four consecutive games without scoring a goal, Williamsport’s trending back in the right direction and are above .500 after a double overtime win Saturday against Milton, 2-1. The Millionaires had a few players out earlier in the season, but are back seemingly at full strength now and right at the perfect time as playoffs loom.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Aleigha Reippel, South Williamsport
Reippel was key for South Williamsport in beating Sullivan County this past week as she had two goals and dished out an assist in a 4-0 win. She then had two saves in South’s 3-0 shutout over Line Mountain on Tuesday.
Boys soccer Top 5
1. LEWISBURG (15-0)
Earlier in the year after a 1-0 win over Williamsport, Lewisburg coach Ben Kettlewell was asked about the Green Dragons’ offense and how they’re putting up a ton of goals. Kettlewell said teams will start figuring Lewisburg out as the season went by. Apparently teams have yet to do so because in their last six games, the Green Dragons have outscored their opponents 49-1.
2. WELLSBORO (10-0)
Speaking of offenses which can put up a lot of goals, the Green Hornets are playing outstanding and have back-to-back shutouts this past week, blanking Athens (3-0) and Northeast Bradford (8-0). That was followed by a trouncing of Towanda, 16-1, which secured Wellsboro’s first outright NTL title.
3. WARRIOR RUN (14-2)
The Defenders had a 2-2 week which was bookended with losses to Jersey Shore (3-2) and Midd-West (5-0). The Defenders beat Mifflinburg (5-1) and Central Mountain (9-0) in between. Warrior Run has been playing solidly all year, and having two losses late in the year can help the team refocus heading into districts.
4. SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT (8-1-1)
The Mounties beat Sullivan last week in an overtime thriller, 6-5, before edging Mid-Penn League foe Benton, 2-1, Thursday. The Mounties have one game left on the schedule at Line Mountain on Saturday.
T5. SULLIVAN COUNTY (8-3-1)
Sullivan County posted back-to-back wins this week. First, the Griffins had to beat a then one-loss Millville team in double overtime, 2-1. After that, the Griffins rallied from an early two-goal deficit to North Penn-Liberty en route to a 5-3 comeback win. They’re two gutsy wins for the Griffins as the postseason is set to begin.
T5. WILLIAMSPORT (7-5)
Give Williamsport credit, the Millionaires are clicking at the right time. Williamsport has strung together three consecutive wins after a tough 1-4 stretch. Williamsport beat Jersey Shore, Montoursville and Milton and that success should give Williamsport a huge confidence boost.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Anthony Bhangdia, Lewisburg
Bhangdia is extremely fast and talented, and teams often can’t neutralize him. That was evident when he had three goals and an assist in both an 11-0 win over Central Columbia and a 7-1 win against Selinsgrove.
Jon Gerardi covers high school soccer for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached by phone at 570-326-1551, ext. 3127, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JonGerardi.