TURBOTVILLE — The first goal of the season was a big one for the Warrior Run varsity girls soccer team.
Paige Bowman scored a beautiful marker at the 53-minute mark to provide all the offense the Defenders would need as they notched a crucial victory over a Lewisburg side which, despite having lost several players from last season’s run to the PIAA 2A title game, is still a force to be reckoned with on the pitch.
“Always respectable, always strong, very talented no matter who they have or don’t have,” Warrior Run head coach Rob Ryder said of the Green Dragons. “We have lots of respect for that team. Paige Bowman really worked hard this summer and for her to get that goal, that was big for us and big for her because she put in the work. She really deserved that one and I’m very proud of her.”
The Green Dragons actually controlled the pace in the first 10 minutes of the contest. Lewisburg was able to put a few long shots on net, but Warrior Run goaltender Kylee Brouse was solid in net all afternoon.
Once the Defenders’ weathered their opponents’ initial rush, the momentum began to shift in Warrior Run’s direction as Ryder instructed his team to use long passes in an attempt to get behind the Lewisburg defense.
Warrior Run controlled the play for the remainder of the first half and began to flip the field on Lewisburg with Bowman leading the way. On several occasions, her teammates attempted to spring Bowman with long, lob passes and more than once, she tracked the ball down and was able to create a play in front.
Finally, 13 minutes into the second half, Bowman and the Defenders broke through. Bowman ran down a long touch from Maddy Ross who lofted the ball deep into the Lewisburg end from behind the midfield stripe. A streaking Bowman ran down the well-placed ball and beat her defender with speed while using her body to shield her angle.
Lewisburg keeper Lauren Gross came out of her net to try to cut down Bowman’s shooting angle, but the Warrior Run forward tucked a shot under Gross’ outstretched left arm and into the back of the goal to give the Defenders their first and most meaningful goal of the campaign.
“I think we just started moving together and working together as a team,” Ryder said of his side taking control of the pace following the first ten minutes. “Once we began to play together as a team, we were lucky enough to get that one that broke free for us.”
The Green Dragons thew the kitchen sink at the Defenders near the end of the game, but Brouse stood tall and made two dazzling saves late in the game to preserve the victory.
“Kylee is very skilled, one of the more skilled keepers in the league, I think,” Ryder said. “She’s very aware of what’s going on out there and she has great communication, so she was keeping them organized out there.”
Warrior Run is now 1-0-1 on the season following Wednesday’s win and a 0-0, double overtime tie against Jersey Shore back on Aug. 31. Next up, the Defenders will host Loyalsock at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Warrior Run 1, Lewisburg 0Wednesday at Warrior Run First half
Second halfWR — Paige Bowman, assist Maddy Ross (53:27)Shots: Lewisburg 12, WR 10; Corners: 2-2; Saves: WR: Kylee Brouse, 9; Lew: Lauren Gross, 9.