Thatcher stout as Lincolnview shuts-out Lady Pirates
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 12:00 AM
By Brian Bassett
Lincolnview freshamn defender Allie Crow fights for possession with Bluffton forward Alyssa Snider (19) during the Lady lancers’ 2-0 win on Tuesday. Lincolnview moved to 2-0 in Northwest Conference play with the win. (DHI Media/Tina Eley)
DHI Media Correspondent
MIDDLE POINT — It’s never an easy match for the Lincolnview Lady Lancer soccer team when the Bluffton Lady Pirates come to town. Tuesday evening was no exception at Lincolnview field.
The Lady Pirates led nearly every statistical category of a Northwest Conference tilt, except the one that mattered - the score.
The Lady Lancers got two goals in the first period and held on for a 2-0 win.
“With our results against Bluffton in the past we’re really happy with the win,” explained Lincolnview coach Mark McCleery. “I was glad the girls could hold them off that second half (because) we were getting tired out there.”
Bluffton got a steal and a shot-on-goal from sophomore forward Brooke Koontz less than two minutes into the game, which began an offensive onslaught by the Lady Pirates on Lincolnview senior goalie Julia Thatcher. The reigning All-NWC first-teamer, Thatcher, was up to the challenge, however, and rejected all 27 of Bluffton’s shots-on-goal during the match.
“She’s a great goalie and had a lot of saves for us,” continued McCleery, who said he debated putting Thatcher in the field early on in the match. “I don’t know which is better (sometimes), to have a fresh body on the field or to keep (Thatcher) in-goal. In this case they were getting a lot of shots-on-goal, so I decided to keep her in there. She did a nice job.”
Meanwhile, both teams traded possessions for the first 30-plus minutes of the match. Finally, senior forward Hannah McCleery broke free for a Lady Lancer goal at the 6:37 mark of the first half to give Lincolnview a 1-0 lead.
Just over two minutes later, McCleery stole a Bluffton pass from 40 yards out and turned it to the second Lady Lancer goal of the evening, running Lincolnview’s lead to 2-0.
Bluffton’s best scoring chance in the first half came at the 17:50 mark, when sophomore Katie Burkholder found classmate Abbie Parkins in front of a nearly-empty goal. The Parkins kick from five yards out hit the left goalpost, and almost the right, before being cleared by the Lincolnview defense, however. In fact, the goal posts were almost as big of an adversary to Bluffton as Thatcher on the evening, as the Lady Pirates hit three kicks off the posts and one off the crossbar - none of which found the net.
“We got lucky,” admitted McCleery. “I haven’t seen a team hit the crossbar that many times. A lot of their shots were from the side. I’m okay with those shots from the side as long as we’re all over them in the midfield.”
Bluffton didn’t go away after the intermission. The visitors added 12 more shots-on-goal in the frame, most of which off the foot of Koontz, but the Lancer defense held.
Senior defender Claire Clay led the Lady Lancer defensive attack in front of Thatcher, which held the Lady Pirate offense at bay all evening en route to the 2-0 shutout win. In total, Bluffton recorded 27 shots-on-goal to Lincolnview’s 12.
Coach McCleery was happy that the win was a team effort.
“It’s important to have (Hannah) in there, and all the seniors with their leadership. You’ve got (junior) Savannah (Bigham) on defense, Claire (Clay) on defense, (junior forward) Autumn Proctor was in there running all over they field. It’s tough to play without any of them on the field,” he said.
The win improves the Lady Lancer record to 3-2-1 on the season, and 2-0 in NWC play. The Lady Pirates fall to 3-2 on the season, and 0-1 in conference play.