by Tom Utescher
Senior Sophia Liguiti deposited a penalty kick to give the home team a 1-0 lead shortly after the second half got underway. The visitors tied the match with 16 minutes remaining, but it didn’t take long for Greta Meyer, another Tigers 12th-grader, to notch the winning goal and help her team improve to 2-3 overall. Freshman Teasha McKoy made a dozen saves in goal for the winners.
It was Germantown’s second straight win over an Inter-Ac League opponent; the Tigers had outshot Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 6-3, the previous Tuesday. In that contest, Meyer scored twice for the victorious Tigers, who received single goals from Linguiti, senior Kelsey Knowles, freshman Corin Grady and Teasha McKoy’s twin sister, Portia.
For last week’s match against Notre Dame, senior goalie Schuyler Alig was out sick, but McKoy has been seeing a lot of playing time, as well, and
first-year GFS coach Jeremy Hurdle had no concerns over starting the freshman.
Notre Dame arrived with a record of 4-0-1, but some early-season scores indicated that the Tigers should be able to stand up to the Irish. Notre Dame and Springside Chestnut Hill had each won a non-league bout against Archbishop Carroll by four goals, and Germantown Friends had a three-goal victory over SCH in the books.
Each team penetrated deep into the opponent’s half in the opening minutes of the game, with the Tigers’ Meyer launching a long shot from near the left endline that travelled past the far post. Neither team solved the scoring riddle in the first half, but GFS spent considerably more time in control of the ball.
Notre Dame survived a corner kick by the hosts about seven minutes in, and with 15 minutes gone the Tigers took the ball off the Irish in the midfield and came back up to have Linguiti hit a shot a bit wide to the left. Notre Dame brought the play to the other end but prematurely launched a long shot that was easily handled by McKoy.
Germantown’s Meyer had another near miss later on, and eventually the half expired with the tally still 0-0.
Linguiti was doing a good job leading the Tigers up through the midfield to the offensive third, and when the hosts needed to take the ball out wide, fellow senior tri-captain Sophie Trotto was a reliable presence out on the wing.
The third captain, Grayson Melby, spearheaded the defense.
Coach Hurdle stated later that his club delivered “far and way our best defensive performance of the year. I felt we were in control of the situation most of the time. Grayson was terrific back there, and Teasha’s goalkeeping was a key to the victory, also.”
GFS gained a measure of control on the score board as the second half began, attacking and drawing a foul in the box to earn a penalty kick. With less than two-and-a-half minutes gone, Linguiti deposited the ball low on the left side for the first goal of the afternoon.
Trotto came close to adding an insurance goal on an outside shot from the right flank, but the 1-0 count would remain on the board for more than 20 minutes. At the other end of the pitch, a skillful cross by the Irish set up a strong header by Tori Rooney that missed on the right. They kept pressing and earned a PK of their own midway through the half, but Carolyn Riegal cut things a little too close with her shot and wound up hitting a goal post.
With about 16 minutes to go, Germantown’s McKoy had to charge far out of the cage to try and counter a numbers-up rush by the visitors. The Irish got the ball behind her and junior Julia Dambly tied the bout at 1-1.
The deadlock lasted just three minutes, though. Taryn Milbourne, a senior who is the top sprinter on the GFS track team, got the ball inside to Meyer, who avoided a stumbling defender and fired past Notre Dame keeper Katy McCullough for the game winner.
Milbourne almost scored a goal of her own to pad the lead, sending the ball a little outside the left post. Notre Dame had a corner kick with five minutes to go, but when the ball was served into the box McKoy grabbed it out of the air.
GFS had two corners of its own after that, then on a final run up the middle by the Irish, Germantown’s Melby knocked the ball away to end the threat.
Although Melby is one of almost a dozen seniors on the GFS roster, the large group of upperclassmen has not taken an insular approach, readily welcoming younger players into the fold.
“Our team chemistry has been good,” Hurdle happily acknowledged. “Since the first day of pre-season, one of our focuses has been to create a tight-knit team. There are players in every class, seniors through freshmen, who are contributing to the team right now.”
As September yields to October, the Tigers find themselves with a good deal of time to hone their game in practice sessions. As already noted, the Notre Dame contest was the only game they played last week, and this week’s schedule also features just one match, a home appearance against New Jersey’s Lawrenceville School. In another home field performance, GFS will open its Friends Schools League season by facing the Shipley Gators on October 7.