CHAMBERSBURG — It might be only early September, but the girls soccer teams of Greencastle-Antrim and Chambersburg have unofficially already taken part in a playoff game.
That’s the kind of atmosphere that prevailed at Trojan Stadium on Monday night when the two local rivals met in the final of the Chambersburg Tournament.
The Trojans (2-0) emerged with a 3-0 victory thanks to a trio of goals by forward Ahsia Thomas and a stout defense, but both teams can find some positives from the game. The contest drew a nice crowd, both schools had energized student sections, and both teams played hard from the opening whistle to the final horn. Nobody was backing down from a tackle or 50-50 ball.
“I think having the game moved from Saturday to today (no referees were available) actually helped make it a better atmosphere,” Chambersburg coach Ed Franchi said. “There were two good local teams going at it.”
Blue Devil coach Chris Noblit said, “I thought we controlled a good part of the first half, but we just couldn’t score. Then I thought we wore down in the second half and their second goal took the air out of our tires.”
Greencastle (1-1) played a fine game in a lot of areas, but the one thing it did not do was stop Thomas. Three times, Trojan midfielder Aubrey Pyne threaded a pass through or over the G-A defense and three times the speedy Thomas beat the defense to the ball and poked a shot past keeper Hope Stitely.
“I’ve done a lot of training in the offseason, working on finishing,” said Thomas, who has scored all five goals for her team so far this season. “They were pressing more and trying to get me offside after we went ahead.”
Thomas’s first goal came just 1:36 before halftime, and it came against the run of play. Pyne fed her a pass into the middle, Thomas let it run past her, then fought off a Greencastle defender to stick a shot into the net.
It happened again with 15:54 left in the game. This time Thomas beat the defense to the ball and made a nice cut to get around Stitely. Pyne’s third assist on a Thomas goal was similar, with just 19 seconds remaining.
“Really, we got beat by one player tonight,” Noblit said. “I would have put Mia Libby on her because she could hang with her speed, but she was unavailable tonight.”
Franchi said, “Those were beautifully weighted passes by Pyne, and Thomas, with her size and speed, finished them well.”
The other big factor was Chambersburg’s defense, with Lindsey Swanger and Olivia Martin on the outside, Katarina Betris and Ava Kalist in the center and Bianca Sommers at defensive midfield. Sommers had the tough task of marking G-A midfielder Avery Parks.
“I was on her a lot just because of positioning, but as the game progressed, I did more man marking,” Sommers said. “Then when we got the lead, we held back a little.”
Parks runs a very good offense for the Blue Devils, with her and Haley Noblit and Courtney Andruczk able to create havoc with their skills and long shooting abilities. In the first half, G-A took eight shots and put four on target, and led in corner kicks, 5-0. In the latter half, they managed only two shots.
Just a minute and half into the game, Noblit cracked a blast from the left side that was headed for the far upper corner. But Chambersburg goalkeeper Bridget Kemerer leaped to her left and brought the ball down.
Kemerer, who had five saves, said, “Everyone was on their toes right from the start, but I was so nervous. Making that first save really calmed me down.”
After the Trojans went ahead 2-0, Greencastle had a chance to halve the deficit when the Trojans committed a trip in the box. But Kemerer went to her right to save the penalty kick taken by Abbie Wolfe.
Chris Noblit said, “Their goalkeeper was phenomenal and their defense was great, too. To hold us scoreless is impressive.”
Franchi said, “Greencastle played excellent ball, and worked it around nicely. They had us on our heels in the first half. We did a few little things differently in the second half and made them expend a little more energy. And our backs played very well.”
The one time G-A got close in the second half, other than the PK attempt, came on a solo run by Andruczk on which she weaved through several defenders and was nearly in free, but a sliding tackle by Swanger foiled the opportunity.
Chambersburg 3, Greencastle-Antrim 0
Greencastle 0 0 — 0
Chambersburg 1 2 — 3
C — Ahsia Thomas, asst. Aubrey Pyne, 38th minute
C — Thomas, asst. Pyne, 56th minute
C — Thomas, asst. Pyne, 79th minute
Shots — GA 10; Chbg 13. Shots on goal — GA 6; Chbg 6. Corner kicks — GA 6; Chbg 0. Saves — GA 3 (Hope Stitley); Chbg 6 (Bridget Kemerer). Offsides — Chbg 2.