GIRLS' SOCCER: Elco completes season sweep of Annville-Cleona with 4-0 road win
ANNVILLE>> Just like it's impossible to hold off the blustery fall weather, it's virtually impossible to hold off the potent Elco attack for the entire 80 minutes of a girls' soccer game.
Annville-Cleona did it successfully for long stretches in Wednesday's Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Three match. But just like the milder temps and humidity at game time were quickly overcome by the plummeting temps and strong winds of a cold front, Annville-Cleona was overcome by Elco, 4-0.
Senior captain Kiyana Rodriguez scored two goals for the Raiders (6-2, 5-1 Section Three), who grabbed a share of the section lead. A pair of super freshmen, Julia Nelson and Ryelle Shuey, netted the other goals for Elco. Shuey assisted on Rodriguez's second goal with 14:23 left that made it 3-0 and effectively put the game out of reach. Jenna Oliviero assisted on the first two goals as the Raiders took a 2-0 halftime lead.
Shuey's goal extended her personal streak of consecutive games with a score to seven.
While Elco dominated the scoreboard and the stat sheet — the Raiders enjoyed a 12-1 edge in shots and a 7-0 advantage in corners -— the game was as much about what Annville-Cleona (7-4, 3-4) couldn't do. They couldn't finish off rushes or get the ball to talented junior forward Reagan Hess, who the Raiders completely neutralized.
"I thought our back line did a tremendous job," Elco coach Derek Fulk said. "I thought our two centerbacks (Nelson and Monica Arnold) did a great job both times we played them."
Elco defeated A-C 6-1 in the rivals' first meeting Sept. 9 in Myerstown. Wednesday's win also settled a score for the Raiders going back a year.
"Last year, (Annville-Cleona) did get us at home in overtime, and I think that was in the back of their minds," Fulk said of his players. "Hess can be real dangerous. She scored two goals against us last year. So our kids were real determined this time."
For Annville-Cleona coach Lisa Schuyler, the strategy was containment and pushing Elco's strikers to the outside. When it worked, it worked well. But when Elco slipped inside the box, it more often than not resulted in a goal.
"We have a group of four, five girls who really did a good job keeping them outside the 18-yard line," Schuyler said. "And the times they did get inside, they scored."
Meanwhile, the Little Dutchmen struggled mightily to get anything going offensively. Their lone shot on goal came in the first minute of play.
An Annville-Cleona bright spot was sophomore goalkeeper Anna Soliday, who made 11 saves and kept her team in the game until Rodriguez tipped in Shuey's crossing pass with 14:23 left. Soliday was at her best in the first 18 minutes of the second half, turning away bullets by Shuey, Taylor Bossert and Emily Bidelspach.
"She's done great," Schuyler said of Soliday. "She's a sophomore and she's an excellent leader. We feel comfortable with her back there."
Shuey made it 4-0 with 11:59 left when she dribbled around center field until she found an opening and ripped a 20-yarder past a diving Soliday. Shuey also ignited the play that resulted in the first Elco goal at 6:29 of the first half. The freshman stole the ball around midfield and dribbled down the slot. Eventually, Rodriguez looped a shot around Soliday from close range.
"She's gonna be something for the next four years, I hope," Fulk said of Shuey. "She's soccer smart. She really knows her way around a soccer field, and she's got a really mean shot — with both feet."
Another freshman, Nelson, scored just under three minutes before halftime to make it 2-0. Soliday and the Dutchmen defense were victimized by an unfortunate bounce. An Elco header was heading for an open net, but Dutchmen freshman back Gabby Bennett kicked it out of danger, only to have the rebound go right to Nelson, who scored at the opposite side of the net.
Elco 4, Annville-Cleona 0
Goals — E: Kiyana Rodriguez 2, Julia Nelson, Ryelle Shuey.
Assists — E: Jenna Oliviero 2, Shuey.
Shots on goal — E 12, A-C 1.
Corners — E 7, A-C 0.
Goalies — E: Emma Strickler (1 save). A-C: Anna Soliday (11).