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NWL girls extend CL streak

The Northwestern girls soccer team has just one league game left to wrap up an undefeated Colonial League season.

The two-time defending league and district champs beat Salisbury Tuesday night, 8-0, and will wrap up their league schedule Thursday, Oct. 13 against Catasauqua.

The win extended Northwestern’s unbeaten streak in Colonial League play to 24 regular season games and 28 games including playoffs. Their last loss in league play came to Southern Lehigh on Sept. 17, 2019. The Tigers won seven straight league games to end that season and went 7-0 in last year’s shortened season.

This season Northwestern is 10-0-1 in league play and in first place in the league standings with the playoffs less than two weeks away.

“We’re playing well,” said Tiger head coach Jordan Smith. “We kind of had a gauntlet in the beginning of the season with Moravian, Southern Lehigh and Palmerton. Luckily we had good results in all of those games.”

Northwestern got through that early-season gauntlet 2-0-1. The Tigers also beat a good Northern Lehigh 3-1 Monday, which was the first goal they had given up in league play since the 1-1 tie with Moravian on opening day, Sept. 7. Among those four teams will likely be the Tigers’ two league playoff opponents.

Northwestern players would love another shot at Moravian Academy to make up for the one small blemish on this year’s record.

“We definitely want revenge on them,” said senior forward Katie Browning. “We know we could have won that game.”

The Tigers have 15 seniors on the team, many of them were are on the roster or on field for the past two championship seasons and they all plan to keep that tradition going.

“We have really high expectations, especially after winning leagues and districts two years in a row,” said senior left back Emilia Blechschmidt, a four-year starter. “Since it’s our senior year we all really want to have a good senior year and get really far. Win leagues and districts, continue to states and not lose so we can stay together a long time.”

The Tigers (13-1-1) overall have now won seven straight games overall, their only loss of the season coming to Central Catholic, 1-0 on Sept. 18. They’ve scored 35 goals in their past five games.

“The girls aren’t getting complacent,” said Smith. “They’re continuing to work hard and keep at it. Early in the season we were struggling to get goals. Lately not only have we been scoring more goals but we’re getting more of a variety of girls on the stat sheet and that’s good to see.”

Monday’s win saw seven different goal scorers for the Tigers. Browning and Cammy Fitch scored two each, while Jakayla Holmes, Kiersten Esterly, Brook Balliet and Katie Brensinger had one each. Blechschmidt had a pair of assists in the game, while teammates Sarah Yeakel, Abby Pomajevich, Fitch, Balliet, Holmes and Shelby Shupp had one assist each.

The Falcons got stellar goalkeeping that made it tough for the Tigers to their first goal. It took half of the first half for the Tigers to break through when a shot from Browning bounced over Falcon keeper Hannah Kamp for a 1-0 lead with 20:07 left in the first half.

It was 10 minutes later that Esterly made it 2-0 with 8:48 left in the first half. That goal seemed to open the floodgates for the Tigers.

Browning netted another goal on a rebound of a Brook Balliet shot to make it 3-0 with 4:33 left. Fitch added a pair of goals in the waning minutes of the first half and Holmes’ goal with 25 seconds left in the period made it 6-0 at halftime.

Kamp made a few more big saves early in the second half as her team was down to 11 players and had no healthy substitutes left by midway through the second half.

Balliet and Kate Brensinger added second-half goals for Northwestern.

PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Tiger senior Kathryn Edgar has some open space to work while possessing the ball during a recent game.