There might be a lot of pressure on the undefeated Strath Haven girls’ soccer team, but the Panthers sure aren’t playing like it.
The Panthers, ranked fourth in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, continued their dominance against Central League opponents, defeating Lower Merion, 4-0, Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of pressure, but I think we’ve done a good job of dealing with it,” said junior forward Kristen Miller, who scored the first goal 25 minutes into the game. “It is important to make a statement in the first half and set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Strath Haven (8-0 overall, 5-0 Central) did just that Tuesday, outshooting Lower Merion by 22-3, controlling possession, and swiftly moving the ball. The Panthers’ midfield was composed, setting the tempo, and starting the attack.
And their defense made sure the Aces didn’t get many scoring opportunities. The Strath Haven goalie, senior Krissy Welsh, didn’t have to make a save until almost 20 minutes into the second half.
“Even if we gave up a lot of shots, we have Krissy back in net and she’s amazing. Our defense has been playing really well,” senior forward Morgan Glassford said.
Up by 1-0 at halftime, the Panthers scored their second goal 47 seconds into the second half. After the goal by Glassford, her first of two, Strath Haven didn’t let up, scoring again two minutes later. The final goal, by junior midfielder Bri Irons, came with five minutes remaining.
“We were doing all the right things. We just couldn’t put it away,” senior midfielder Kirsten Wilhelmsen said of the first half. “We kept our energy up, and then after halftime, we had an extra kick.”
The Aces (5-3-1, 0-3-1) started the season 4-0 before being hampered by injuries. Senior Kiersten Daly suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and is out for the season, and freshman Olivia Tevis is sidelined with a concussion.
Senior Moira Petrie and sophomore Tori Klevan played sparingly Tuesday in their first game from illness and a concussion, respectively. Aces coach Kevin Ries said the injuries his team has suffered this season are the worst he has seen.
In five league games, Strath Haven has outscored opponents by 29-1, scoring three or more goals against each.