WVC Girls Soccer: Alison Francis scores game winner in OT for Dallas


By Jay Monahan - For Times Leader



Dallas’ Hannah Boyd (5) catches up to Crestwood’s Bella Termini (17) as she dribbles the ball down field.


Dallas’ Hollie Holthaus, right, and Crestwood’s Katelyn Whetstone battle for the ball.


Dallas’ Alison Francis, center right, hugs teammate Rachel Nelligan after Francis scored the winning goal in Dallas’ 2-1 overtime victory against Crestwood on Thursday.


WRIGHT TWP. — Eighty minutes just is not enough when Dallas and Crestwood get together.

For the third straight time, the Mountaineers-Comets match needed overtime to decide a victor. And for the third straight time, a dramatic play settled the score.

Dallas’ Alison Francis netted the golden goal to give the Mountaineers a 2-1 overtime victory on the road Thursday in Wyoming Valley Conference girls soccer action. Francis scored the game winner just 36 seconds into extra time.

“I told them that each team was going to get an opportunity, and whoever converts that gets it,” Dallas coach Abe Lewis said. “All it takes is one mistake. Fortunately, we got that opportunity first.”

Francis, a freshman, put her shot away in the 81st minute on a misplayed clear attempt from Cortney Deshanko. The freshman goalkeeper kicked the ball in Francis’ range, and Francis sent her team into disbelief by knocking it into the net.

“It felt really good because I had a yellow card earlier in the first half, and I was frustrated by it all game,” Francis said. “The goalkeeper was getting rid of the ball and made a pass that I was able to get my foot on. It felt amazing. I was pretty nervous so it was great to get that for my team.”

A heated rivalry that spilled from last year came down to a pair of players that weren’t in uniform for last year’s thrillers. In their regular season meeting, the Comets’ Bella Termini ended Dallas’ 20-game conference winning streak with an overtime goal. They played again in the District 2 quarterfinals when Ruby Mattson stunned the Comets in the 86th minute.

“As far as I see it, I knew Crestwood was going to be tough from what we saw last season and we lost a lot of graduates,” Lewis said. “I knew with the returners that worked hard in the offseason and the quality of our freshmen, that it would be a good game.

“I see both teams competing like this for the next two or three years. This is the cream of the crop of the WVC on paper – whether it plays out or not, we’ll see.”

Crestwood held onto possession and shot advantage in the first half. After knocking on the Mountaineers’ door several times, Allie Stover scored on a long pass into the box from Lexi Gaetano in the 29th minute. Stover flicked the ball over the Dallas keeper’s head into the upper 90 of the goal.

The Mountaineers buckled down in the second half. Dallas’ Rachel Maniskas equalized the score at 1-1 in the 52nd minute. Maniskas won a ball on a cross pass from Emma Sweitzer into the box and delivered into the net for her first goal of the season.

“It was a combination of bad luck and good defense on Dallas’ part,” Crestwood coach Russ Kile said. “They play very compact. We tried to play wider in the second half but couldn’t get into the box.”

Crestwood defender Megan Sypniewski made two game-saving defensive plays in the second half. Holding onto a 1-0 lead, Sypniewski won a ball just next to the goal line on a three-touch play with no goalkeeper in site in the 42nd minute. With two minutes remaining in regulation, she made a brilliant team save to send the game into overtime. Hollie Holthaus hit a hard shot from an angle that was knocked away from the keeper. The deflection’s path was destined for goal when Sypniewski charged in to keep it out of the net.

Dallas keeper Rachel Nelligan finished with nine saves. Deshanko stopped four shots for the Comets.

Crestwood hit the post three times.

In a battle of the last remaining undefeated teams in Division 1, Dallas moves into first place. The two teams play again on Oct. 11 at Dallas.

Wyoming Valley West 3,

Hazleton Area

Wyoming Valley West’s Kylee Laudenslager scored two goals in a shutout over Hazleton Area.

Olivia Burkhardt fed Laudenslager on both goals in the first half while Elizabeth Burkhardt made good on a pass from Riley O’Neil in the second half.

The Spartans outshot Hazleton 32-2.

Hanover Area 3, Berwick 1

Hanover Area’s Karly Bennett got the Hawkeyes on the board after 19 minutes and 39 seconds of play, and they never looked back.

Bennett finished with a pair of goals and an assist in a two-goal win over Berwick. Abbie Nevel scored the Bulldogs’ lone goal, tying the game before the half.

Dallas 2, Crestwood 1 (OT)

Dallas`0`1`1`—`2

Crestwood`1`0`0`—`1

First half — 1. CRE Allie Stover (Lexi Gaetano), 29th minute. Second half — 2. DAL Rachel Maniskas (Emma Sweitzer), 52nd. Overtime — 3. DAL Alison Francis, 81st.

Shots — DAL 17; CRE 17. Saves — DAL 9 (Rachel Nelligan); CRE 4 (Cortney Deshanko). Corner kicks — DAL 4, CRE 3. YC — DAL, Francis.

Wyoming Valley West 3,

Hazleton Area 0

Hazleton Area`0`0` — `0

Wyoming Valley West`2`1` — `3

First half – 1. WVW, Kylee Laudenslager (Olivia Burkhardt), 33:30; 2. WVW, Laudenslager (O. Burkhardt), 37:46. Second half – 3. WVW, Elizabeth Burkhardt (Riley O’Neil), 73:03.

Shots – HA 2; WVW 32. Saves – HA 27; WVW 2. Corner kicks – HA 1; WVW 6.

Hanover Area 3, Berwick 1

Hanover Area`1`2`-`3

Berwick`1`0`-`1

First half — 1. HA, Karly Bennett (Erika Merth), 19:39; 2. BER, Abbie Nevel (Sammi Starr), 24:23. Second half — 3. HA, Bennett (Brooke Stevens), 54:10; 4. HA, Sharon Monahan (Bennett), 20:15.

Shots — HA 13; BER 7. Saves — HA 6 (Chrissy Kratz); BER 10 (Becca Decker). Corner Kicks — HA 4; BER 3.

Dallas’ Hannah Boyd (5) catches up to Crestwood’s Bella Termini (17) as she dribbles the ball down field.
http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_TTL091616GSOC2-2.jpgDallas’ Hannah Boyd (5) catches up to Crestwood’s Bella Termini (17) as she dribbles the ball down field.

Dallas’ Hollie Holthaus, right, and Crestwood’s Katelyn Whetstone battle for the ball.
http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_TTL091616GSOC3-2.jpgDallas’ Hollie Holthaus, right, and Crestwood’s Katelyn Whetstone battle for the ball.

Dallas’ Alison Francis, center right, hugs teammate Rachel Nelligan after Francis scored the winning goal in Dallas’ 2-1 overtime victory against Crestwood on Thursday.
http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_TTL091616GSOC1-2.jpgDallas’ Alison Francis, center right, hugs teammate Rachel Nelligan after Francis scored the winning goal in Dallas’ 2-1 overtime victory against Crestwood on Thursday.

By Jay Monahan

For Times Leader

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @tlsports.

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @tlsports.

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