GIRLS SOCCER: Freeport's duo too much for Indiana
All season, free-swinging Freeport forwards Erica Jack and Megan Manke have tormented WPIAL Section 2-AA defenders and goalkeepers.
Jack and Manke stuck to the script Tuesday, breaking loose from Indiana’s defense on several occasions and figuring in each of Freeport’s goals to spearhead a 4-2 win in a WPIAL Section 2-AA girls’ soccer match at Andy Kuzneski Field.
Freeport (6-4 overall, 5-2 section) scored its third straight win while the Indians (3-8, 0-7) dropped their sixth consecutive match.
“They’ve been our terrors the whole season,” Freeport coach Maura Allen said of Jack and Manke. “Every chance they get, they either take a shot from 30 yards out, or they’re giving and going. They’re our top scorers, so it’s not really a surprise any game when they’re our main terrors.”
Jack and Manke nearly put the Yellow Jackets on the board several times in the game’s early going, but the duo came up inches short on several instances.
First, Jack fired a shot off the crossbar that then bounced off an Indiana defender’s back and into goalie Hannah Schwartz’s hands 15 minutes, 11 seconds into the match. Just 1:45 later, Jack broke free behind Indiana’s defense and uncorked a sizzling shot that Schwartz made a diving save on to her right.
Jack then sent a nifty feed into the penalty box to Manke just 1:44 later. Manke corralled the pass and ripped a shot off the crossbar from 15 yards that Schwartz eventually nabbed.
Jack finally snuck one by Schwartz on a free kick 21:59 into the first half, cranking a bullet that deflected off a diving Schwartz’s hands and into the right corner of the net to give Freeport a 1-0 lead.
“They’re dangerous forwards who know how to possess the ball and know how to strike from well outside the 18 (penalty box),” Indiana coach Courtney Scherf said. “You can’t even give them a yard of distance or they’re going to capitalize on it.”
Katlyn Biondo made it 2-0 just 4:13 later by knifing through three Indiana defenders to boot a shot past a diving Schwartz into the right corner of the net.
Manke then got in on the act, outrunning two Indiana defenders before rocketing a shot past a fully extended Schwartz into the left corner of the net to stretch Freeport’s lead to 3-0 with 2:41 to go in the first half.
Two Indiana players misfired on clean breakaway attempts in the first half.
Lorraine Yerger outran two Freeport defenders and had a clean shot at beating goalie Raine Carney, only to crack a shot to her right and out of bounds.
Then, on a strikingly similar breakaway with 3:29 to go in the first half, Indiana’s Noel Hartle drilled a shot that sailed just over the crossbar.
“We’ve been struggling having so many young players and so much inexperience,” Scherf said. “They just need a little more time and experience to see how much potential they really have. But they saw that they could create opportunities fast in the match, and that’s what’s most important.”
Jack blasted an impressive shot from 25 yards that sailed in a bending motion over Schwartz’s head into the right corner of the net with 18:07 to play to balloon Freeport’s lead to 4-0.
“That was just a really great placed ball,” Scherf said. “I really don’t think any goalie in the section would have made that save.”
Yerger’s hard work finally paid off at 16:21 when she enticed Carney to leave her crease for the fourth time on an Indiana breakaway.
Carney failed to get a hand on Yerger’s shot this time and the junior forward chipped a shot into the left corner of the net to trim Freeport’s lead to 4-1.
Less than a minute later, Hartle scored in similar fashion on a breakaway, smashing a shot off a charging Carney’s hands and into the net to make it 4-2 with 15:23 to play.
“We created a lot of really good opportunities, and so did they,” Scherf said. “They capitalized on a few more than we did, but I think we came away with a lot of positives from this evening. We haven’t actually scored against Freeport since 2010, and we haven’t scored a goal since September 7, so tonight was a loss, but it was a step in the right direction.”