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Freedom girls fall to Nazareth in soccer

Freedom’s girls soccer team is holding its own with a record of 3-3-1 while dealing with injuries and dropping a recent match to Nazareth, 3-0, last Wednesday at Freedom.

“We really haven’t seen our unit play together yet this year, but I’m really looking forward to when we’re at full strength, getting through the injuries we’re dealing with,” said first-year head coach Sean McIntyre. “We didn’t make any cuts this year, so the girls are out here working hard, building with what we have, and the girls are buying in, so it’s exciting.”

Patriot goalkeeper Megan Raffino made five saves in Freedom’s game against Nazareth, almost stealing the Blue Eagles’ first goal from Caroline Meneely when Raffino jumped and got her hands on the ball before it fell in behind her.

Meneely followed up with a free kick to the top left corner five minutes later to make the score 2-0.

“It’s digging deep, but you give up two, it’s very difficult to win games when you give up more than one goal, so it’s a tall task,” Coach McIntyre said. “Just go out with the mentality it’s a 0-0 game is where I was coming from [at halftime], and let’s work these next 40 minutes and put out our best effort.”

The Patriots were able to keep Nazareth shots in check while taking a few of their own. Anya Johns took a pass from Abigail Plasco for an attempt, and Tess Zalutsky, currently on minute restriction for an injured hamstring, took a shot that went high and wide.

Then, in the 76th minute, Kylee James scored on an assist by Chloe Guerra for the Blue Eagles.

“I think we got to the point where we were so in tune with putting passes together that we deserved to get a goal, and I was right in the position where it was a perfect pass from Chloe, so it was just right there,” James said. “From past games, we’d dribble through and not shoot, so we’ve been practicing finishing every single goal, so this game our coach (Ziggy Lewis) wanted us to focus on shooting from distance because they have a strong, solid defense.”

This week, the Patriots will compete in their first city rivalry match of the season when they travel to Bethlehem Catholic on Thursday afternoon.

“After the first few games, I’m happy with where we’re at, and I see this team continuing to improve as the year goes on,” said McIntyre.

Press photo by Mark Kirlin Anya Johns and the Patriots fell to Nazareth in a recent game.