Blank, Woods lead Ryan past Penn Charter

Penn Charter #5 Brigitte Gutpelet (far left), goalie Mackenzie Listman and # 25 Hannah Fox (far right) look to clear the ball as Archbishop Ryan # 7 Haley O'Neill presses on in the 1st half of the Penn Charter at Archbishop Ryan H.S. girls soccer game on October 7, 2015.

Whenever No. 17 for the Archbishop Ryan girls' soccer team puts the ball down on the field for a set piece, there's a pretty good chance what happens next results in a goal for the Ragdolls.

Jules Blank, who wears the jersey in question, is a playmaker and goal scorer, but beyond her speed and finishing abilities, her biggest asset is how she can strike a service into the box.

Which is why it was so strange when the senior forward took a first-half corner kick Wednesday night and it didn't go anywhere near the net, but rather landed out of bounds.

"I think I hit the ground - I don't know what happened," Blank said after Ryan's 2-1 win over visiting Penn Charter. "That was probably the first one I hit out all year."

"Possibly the second," Taylor Woods said.

"Maybe," Blank retorted.

More important than the number of times Blank has had a corner kick veer left or right of the net this year was what happened shortly after her rare misstep.

With less than six minutes remaining in the first half against the Quakers (4-2), Blank sent a great service near the 6-yard line. Woods got her head on it and sent it into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal. It was the 10th goal the Ragdolls (12-0-1) scored off a corner this season.

"It started at Little Flower - remember Little Flower," Blank said, motioning to Woods.

Two years ago, as sophomores, Blank chipped a ball onto Woods' head for a goal against Little Flower. Later in that game, they connected again, and ever since then, the duo has become quite the offensive threat.

"I think if the ball gets to my head I have a pretty good chance of getting it into the net somehow," Woods said.

Blank, who scored the first goal, and Woods have combined to score 32 of Ryan's 41 goals this season. Blank has registered a goal in all but one game this season, and has already reached 20 goals.

Woods' winner against the Quakers was her 12th tally in 13 games.

"As soon as I get the ball, it's a natural instinct to just look for Jules," Woods said. "Usually, nine out of 10 times she's open. I just try to play her the best ball I can."

Seems to be a strategy that's working out just fine.

Penn Charter 1 0 - 1

Archbishop Ryan 2 0 - 2

Goals: PC-Dom DeMarco; AR-Jules Blank, Taylor Woods.

Saves: PC-Mackenzie Listman 6; AR-Devon McDonald 5.

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