Shoot early and shoot often. That’s the slogan that Northwestern girls soccer coach Kelly Bleam would like her players to adopt, but instead, they’ve taken a more passive approach to the game which has made it difficult to score. Against Southern Lehigh in the Colonial League semifinals, the lack of scoring led to a 1-0 loss for the Tigers.
Senior kicker Hunter Miller set a school record with a 47-yard field goal and the Northwestern offense mounted a late drive toward the end zone, but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers fell to Southern Lehigh 28-21 Friday night.
The Tigers were able to grind out yardage on the ground for much of the game, while Southern Lehigh took advantage of a couple quick strikes for scores.
After dropping their first three games of the season, Northwestern battled back to a 2-3 record, but had to play a tough Saucon Valley team in week six looking to even its record. The Panthers downed Northwestern, but the Tigers rebounded last week to beat Bangor, again putting them within reach of a .500 record on the season. As far as the schedule goes, history repeats itself as Northwestern now needs a win over Southern Lehigh (6-1) for its fourth win of the season.
Northwestern is no stranger to having its special teams units contribute to wins. Friday night against Bangor, special teams pretty much dominated the play with the Tigers blocking a punt and recovering two muffed punts. The plays led to the only two touchdowns that were scored in the game as Northwestern downed Bangor 14-0.
Umer Javed blocked a punt with 9:58 left in the first quarter and the Tigers started their drive at the 47-yard line. Eight plays later, Justin Rodda came around left end and sprinted into the front corner of the end zone for the first score of the night.
Northwestern put together a tough challenge for the undefeated Parkland girls soccer team Monday night, but in the end, the Trojan’s depth became a big factor in the game as they took a 3-0 win over the Tigers.
Throughout much of the first half, Parkland (14-0-0 EPC, 16-0-0 overall) controlled play and fired some tough shots at goal keeper McKenna Amey, who was up to the challenge of having to dive for many of the saves that she made throughout the half.
In many ways, Bangor and Northwestern are very similar teams at this point in the season. Both are at 2-4, but both have also shown that they can make some big plays and have some talent to work with. The Tigers are coming off of a 42-19 loss to Saucon Valley, while the Slaters were pounded by Southern Lehigh in a 37-6 loss in week six of the season.
For a young Northwestern team, the worst thing that can happen is to fall behind early to a good team.
That’s exactly what happened Friday night when an 81-yard return on the opening kickoff set up an early score for Saucon Valley.
On the next Tigers drive, a fumble gave the Panthers a short field, helping them to go up 14-0 just over four-minutes into the game. Saucon Valley (4-2) turned the fast start into a 49-21 win over Northwestern (2-4).
Goals from a freshman and a senior paced Northwestern to a 2-0 win over Notre Dame (Green Pond) on Monday, leaving the Tigers as the only undefeated boys soccer team in the Colonial League. Freshman Jeff Garcia and senior Noah Myers scored the goals for the Tigers to put them at 10-0 in the Colonial League and 14-0 overall this season.
By most standards, the Northwestern girls soccer team having a very successful season. The Tigers head into this week at 5-1-1 in the Colonial League and 10-1-1 overall, having already clinched a spot in districts.
That doesn’t mean that everything is going perfectly, as pointed out by a 2-1 loss to Salisbury last week on the Tigers’ home field.
It had been a long time, perhaps as long as 15 years, since the Falcons made the trip to New Tripoli and left with a win.
Northwestern’s offense came into week five averaging just over 175 yards per game of total offense, the lowest in the Colonial League. For the second week in a row though, the offense was productive, with Deven Bollinger crossing the 200-yard mark in passing for the second straight week.
That and a defense that seems to be finding its groove helped lead the Tigers (2-3) to a 43-14 win over Pen Argyl (0-5) on Homecoming Night at Tiger Stadium.