Girls Soccer

Greencastle girls soccer advances to PIAA semifinals

MANCHESTER — In a girls soccer game in which Greencastle-Antrim was nowhere close to full-strength, the Blue Devils’ stars shone brightly.

But even more important was the fact that the role players and bench players made a big impact.

And that enabled G-A to earn a 1-0 victory over Archbishop Wood in a PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal game at Northeastern H.S. on Saturday afternoon.

Abi Guthrie

The victory pushed the Blue Devils into the semifinals, which will be played Tuesday. Greencastle (21-2-1) will take on Upper Perkiomen (22-0-1), with site and time to be determined.

“We have a lot of girls getting a lot of playing time that we were not expecting to,” G-A coach Chris Noblit said. “Man, we just have so many girls who are sick.”

The Blue Devils’ depth has been sorely tested in the playoffs. Midfielders Abi Wolfe and Sajel Sriram are out with injuries, Defender Aubrey Smith was a scratch at game time, as she and several other players battled being sick.

That put Zhen Reuter into the starting lineup, and Noblit tried to keep players fresh with multiple substitutions. That put players like Caterina Marchiano, Callie Izer, Caroline Logsdon and Hailey Baker into more prominent roles than usual.

Noblit said, “Marchiano played great, and Callie got a lot of minutes, and they’re just freshmen.”

Archbishop Wood (14-3-1) and the Blue Devils went toe-to-toe for about the first 25 minutes, with lots of play in the midfield as the teams felt each other out. But neither team created any really good chances.

Noblit then made an adjustment, switching Haley Noblit and Mia Libby, so that Noblit was the lone striker. That move paid dividends in about three minutes.

Libby got her head to a ball and skimmed it forward to Noblit. She made a quick dribble past one Viking defender, then pushed the ball ahead and onto her right foot and ripped a ball into the left side of the net.

Alexis Nelson

“I saw Mia go up for the header, and I know she’s going to win that,” Haley Noblit said. “It came to me and when I turned I knew I had to go to goal with it. At that point, I’m thinking, ‘You are NOT going to miss another shot.'”

Noblit leads the team with 25 goals, but had only one in five playoff games (although she did had 5 assists). She had hit the crossbar and posts with several other shots, but this time her shot thundered into the net.

The Blue Devils did not have any other shots on goal, although several good crosses were picked off by Viking goalkeeper Lauren Greer.

But with the lead, the defense took priority.

Archbishop Wood’s offense revolves around center midfielder Ava DeGeorge, who hit multiple passes over the top of G-A’s defense and several through balls.

But Greencastle’s defenders — mainly Rylee Henson, Shaina Overcash and Abi Guthrie — were very good at running those balls down before striker Paige Eckert could get to them. And in the second half, goalkeeper Lexi Nelson came off her line to pick off many more of them before a Wood player could get to them.

“We were focused on No. 5 (DeGeorge), and knew where she was at all times,” Greencastle right back Abi Guthrie said, “but not really marking her because we trust all of our defenders. In the second half they tried to hit all those through balls, but Lexi came out to get them.”

The Vikings did have one stretch of about 10 minutes midway through the second half in which they dominated possession and put pressure on the goal. Daryn Savage put one long free kick just a little high and a looping shot by DeGeorge also went over the bar. One corner kick fell into a dangerous place but was eventually cleared.

Coach Noblit then dropped Libby back to defense and put Haley Noblit into the midfield trying to protect that precious lead.

Which they did. And that advanced the Blue Devils into the state semifinals for the first time.

Coach Noblit said, “The sickness we have is pretty bad. Rylee was getting sick at halftime and I was going to sit her down, but she said, ‘You’re not keeping me out.’ I think if we had had to go into overtime, we’d have had nothing left.”

SAVES: Nelson was credited with just two saves, but she broke up many more plays by coming out far from her goal … G-A’s defense caught Wood players offsides five times … G-A’s semifinal opponent, District 1 champion Upper Perkiomen, defeated Valley View 6-0 Saturday.

Greencastle-Antrim 1, Archbishop Wood 0
Greencastle              1     0     —     1
Arch. Wood              0     0     —     0
First Half
GA — Haley Noblit, asst. Mia Libby, 31st minute
Shots — GA 7, AW 6. Shots on goal — GA 3; AW 2. Corner kicks — GA 4; AW 4. Saves — GA 2 (Lexi Nelson); AW 2 (Lauren Greer). Fouls — GA 7, AW 8. Offsides — GA 1; AW 5.

Categories: Girls Soccer, Greencastle