Relentless attack pays off as Mifflin County girls win second

LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County was in constant attack mode against Big Spring and it paid off in a form of a 1-0 victory in a nonleague girls soccer game on Saturday.

“It was sloppy but we got the win,” Huskies coach Barrett Knepp said. “It wasn’t our best game by far — we’ve just got some stuff to clean up.”

After a scoreless first half, the Huskies came out on the attack immediately, not allowing much room for the Bulldogs to breath. Jessica Bickhart attempted to put points on the board but her shot was deflected. Another chance Mifflin County came a little later on as Rebecca Montgomery launched a rocket only to have it go wide right from the net.

The only real opportunity that Big Spring had in the first 10 minutes of the second half was on a direct kick and the shot was thwarted by Huskies goalkeeper Allyssa Schnell.

Eventually the constant pressure by Mifflin County got Big Spring into trouble and that led to a penalty kick. Bickhart kicked one just out of reach of Bulldog keeper Allyson Manley giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead with 31 minutes remaining, and that made it stand.

“We needed it for sure,” Knepp said. “We got the hand ball in the box (call) — we were really lucky to get that.”

Mifflin County wanted more and kept the pressure going as Olivia Cook made a solid play defensively and later turned it over to an open Bickhart who looked to score again, only to have the sail over the goal.

The Huskies struggled to add to the lead but it wasn’t for a lack of trying as Sierra Shawver took her turn, slipping past the defense only to be stopped by Manley. Bickhart charged again not long after that only to be cut off by a great defensive play by Big Spring’s Aleya Eisenberg. Montgomery had another opportunity to put the ball in the net but the shot was wide.

“We had chances to put it away and we didn’t,” Knepp said. “So I’m glad we got that (one goal).”

The Bulldogs were able to pick up some momentum in the final two minutes and nearly got one to go in but were stopped by Schnell, who dived over the ball. From there on the Huskies were able to run out the clock to secure the win.

The second half was pretty much a repeat of the first half as Mifflin County controlled the tempo for most of the frame but just failed to get the ball into the net.

“Pressure was good — we just have to clean up our touches a little bit and find that final goal,” Knepp said. “Once we get that down and finish some of our shots.”

Bickhart led the charge for Mifflin County but she was not alone in the attack. Kylee Cubbison and fellow freshman Madison Finkenbiner also had chances to score.

“She is always a strong player,” Knepp said of Bickhart. “She gives you what she has, she was very good for us.”

Mifflin County (2-4) hosts Palmyra today.

Mifflin County 1, Big Spring 0

Second half

MC — Jessica Bickhart (PK), 30:59

Shots: MC 9-7. Corners: MC 3-2. Saves: MC-7 (Allyssa Schnell), BS-8 (Allyson Manley)