LEWISBURG — Caroline Blakeslee was simply trying to make sure she was where she was supposed to be.
Even though it seemed as if two teammates were about to score as the Lewisburg sophomore raced down the left side of the field Wednesday.
Well, Maria Bozella’s shot was saved, and Katie Batkowski’s effort hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced away from the goal. Fortunately for the Green Dragons, Blakeslee was waiting and hammered in the game-winning goal less than 3 minutes into the second half of Lewisburg’s 4-2 win over Selinsgrove in girls soccer action.
“I knew I needed to be there,” Blakeslee said. “I didn’t know if it was going to be a cross or a shot. Thankfully, I was there, following the ball and had an easy one-touch.”
It was the second time against the Seals that Blakeslee gave the Green Dragons a one-goal lead, and this time Lewisburg made it stand up.
“Caroline is one of our best players, period,” Lewisburg coach Terry Gerlinski said. “She can hit the ball, cross the ball. She’s a great player, and we’re lucky to have her.”
Blakeslee looped a flat-angled shot in from the right wing less than 11 minutes into the game.
“We were having a lot of good passes as a team,” Blakeslee said. “I honestly didn’t think I’d make it, but I tried to pop it over the goalie.”
Some good passes down the left sideline led to a 2-0 Lewisburg lead less than four minutes later. Sophie Kilbride got on the end of the cross, but Yoder made a diving save. The ball rebounded to Julia Monaco, who hit the ball on the ground off the inside of the post for a goal.
“We can move the ball around and do things well, but we need to be quicker,” Gerlinski said. “When we do that, we look good.”
Selinsgrove’s goalkeeper made a pair of diving close-range saves on Kilbride in the first half, or else the Green Dragons’ lead would have been larger.
Selinsgrove’s Abby Parise helped the Seals get back into the game in the first half.
Seven minutes after the Green Dragons took a 2-0 lead, Parise won a loose ball, corralled it and sent it over the goalkeeper into the net.
Parise then raced down a long pass from Ella Magee, took a touch to get around the goalkeeper and put it into the net to tie the game with 9:30 left in the first half.
“We let our guard down a little bit, especially on (Parise),” Blakeslee said. “She’s so fast. We knew we had to get the lead back.”
The Green Dragons (2-3) spent much of halftime talking about their defense.
“We were a lot more aggressive in the second half, and worked better as a team,” Lewisburg freshman center back Laurel Boyer said.
“We cleaned up our back line in the second half,” Gerlinski added. “We talked about it at halftime, and that seemed to help. We were also more physical, which we needed to be.”
The Green Dragons also changed their plan to guard Parise, which put added responsibility on Boyer.
“I was sticking with (Parise) almost the whole time,” Boyer said. “Then one of our outside wings would swoop in to help and save me.”
Izzy Wood stopped all three second-half shots that Selinsgrove put on goal. However, Lewisburg limited Parise’s touches inside the 18-yard box after halftime as the Selinsgrove senior took five second-half shots, two from inside the box. In the first half, Parise had four shots, all within 12 yards of the goal.
Mikayla Long scored with nine minutes left to seal the win for Lewisburg.
“This was only our fifth game,” Gerlinski said. “We need time to jell. We still need that time to figure each other out. We’ll get there eventually. This was a good win.”
Lewisburg 4, Selinsgrove 2
L-Caroline Blakeslee, unassisted, 10:42.
L-Julia Monaco, unassisted, 14:29.
S-Abby Parise, unassisted, 21:44.
S-Parise, assist Ella Magee, 30:30.
L-Blakeslee, unassisted, 42:49.
L-Mikayla Long, unassisted, 70:59.
Shots: Lewisburg, 13-7. Corner kicks: Lewisburg, 5-0. Saves: Selinsgrove 9 (Kirsten Yoder); Lewisburg 5 (McKenna Meadows 2, Izzy Wood 3).