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UP Girl’s Soccer
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Upper Perkiomen head coach Mike Freed garnered a first look at his girls soccer team in competition, and, despite a 2-1 loss to Palisades, the coach is 

optimistic that his squad is headed in the right direction.

            The Tribe notched a late goal from Kayleigh Durning and Hannah Landis was strong in goal with eight saves, but their efforts were not enough to overcome scores by the Pirates' Sydney Odle and Katie King.

            Upper Perk dominated play early before the visitors tilted the field in the last 20 minutes of the first half. Only a spectacular diving save by Landis preserved a scoreless tie at halftime.

            The Tribe's defense did a good job protecting against the four corners awarded to the Pirates in the first half. Upper Perk had no corners until midway through the second half and ended up with a 6-2 corner disadvantage.

            Odle, a speedy freshman, created several testing chances and finally broke into the scoring column after getting behind the defense and rolling a shot into the opposite corner with 13 minutes left in the contest.

"Odle is one of our faster players. She has a lot of speed up front for us, so she's able to get past defenders and cut inside," offered Pirate coach Christian Willman.

Five minutes later, Odle sent the ball across the goalmouth where it was tapped in by King to make it 2-0.

Durning got the Tribe on the board with direct free kick under the crossbar past Trinity Williams (five saves) with less than a minute remaining, but the visitors easily rode out the remaining game time.

At least the Tribe emerged from the game with a better idea of what to improve.

"There was still a decent amount of positives to take out of [the game]," Freed said, "and we'll just refine things from there and move on."

Senior midfielder Taylor Kearney echoed her coach. "We just have to figure out what works and stick to it."

Freed was happy to get senior Hannah Leight back on the field after a devastating injury last season, and he welcomed several newcomers making varsity debuts.

            "I thought all around, we got some good efforts out of people," Freed observed. "I thought that our younger players, our freshmen for their first game, played well." 

            One those freshmen was forward Rianne Moll who had a strong first half, showing speed and ball skills, but she could not find the back of the net with a couple of scoring chances.

            For the most part, Freed was pleased with one aspect of his team. "Defensively, I thought our organization was better than we showed in our first two scrimmages."

            But the coach lamented wasted offensive openings.

            "You look at those opportunities where, if we get a clean first touch, we get a shot. Instead we get a bad first touch and now we need a second touch to clean that up and a third touch. They swarm out, and they shut us down."

            Freed pointed out that team has made modifications to its attack to better suit the talent on hand this season and needs time to adjust.

            Kearney feels the issue is familiarity.

            "We're all playing together for the first time for the most part. I think a lot of it is finding out what runs certain people make, people's styles."

            Freed expects "radically better play" from his team as the season progresses.

"You can only accomplish so much in a two week preseason. Those are all fixable things. We need to clean some things up."





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