Strohecker lifts Huskies into D6 final
Three first-half goals carry Huskies
LEWISTOWN–Aubrey Strohecker is only a sophomore, but has already established herself as an elite scorer for the Mifflin County Huskies.
Strohecker scored all three goals for the Huskies in their 3-1 victory over State College in a District 6 Class 4A semifinal game at Mifflin County Middle School.
“I think it really started on Monday, when we upset Hershey,” Mifflin County coach Barrett Knepp said about his team preparing for districts. “I think that set the bar for the week. They rode the momentum right through and it was nice to see.”
Just two days removed from scoring a game-winning goal with three seconds left to stun the Hershey Trojans, Strohecker picked up right where she left off. After the back line made an incredible stop to help out goalie Bailey McNitt, Strohecker got the ball behind the Little Lions defense, outran her defender and beat State College’s goalie, Evie Lenze, burying her shot in the upper right corner.
The smooth play gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead with over 22 minutes remaining in the first half.
“We knew they like to play a high line on defense, so we tried to play some quick through balls and early on that worked out pretty well for us,” Knepp said. “That got us the early (goal) there, for sure.”
The Little Lions offense was aggressive and spent a lot of time in the Mifflin County half of the field, but they struggled to get open looks at the net. The Huskies would clamp down on defense and wait for an opportunity to present itself.
Strohecker made the most of her second chance of the game, firing a shot that was tipped by Lenze, but had enough on it to find its way into the back of the net. The Huskies pushed toward the net and Strohecker was the beneficiary of some solid passes.
“We did a good job of moving the ball, at times,” Knepp said. “We were stringing some nice passes together and opening things up.”
With under seven minutes remaining in the first half, the Little Lions finally broke through, taking advantage of a miscue by the Huskies’ defense. McNitt dove to stop a pass through the crease, but missed, allowing an un-guarded Paola Melendez to knock the ball in to an empty net.
The lone Little Lions goal was the only real slip up for the defense on the course of the game. On multiple occasions, the defense made a great play to prevent a goal from being scored.
“They hung in there,” Knepp said about his back line. “We actually struggled with, early in the season, losing our marks backdoor. (The fact) that they bailed us out a couple of times today on the back side was really nice to see.”
State College looked to regain some momentum after cutting the Huskies’ lead in half, but what ever momentum the Little Lions accrued was quickly lost as Strohecker netted her third goal of the game, just 30 seconds after State College got on the board.
“Of late, it seems like she’s been putting three in every game,’ Knepp said. “She’s a great player and the girls feed off of her. They know where’s she’s going to be because she’s always moving. That’s key.”
The Huskies took a 3-1 lead into the half, and that’s where the scored stayed. In the second half, both teams had their chances to score, but were unable to convert. As time wound down, the Huskies took their time, while still attacking the net.
With only one off day to prepare for the district semifinal, Knepp and his coaching staff turned to film to game plan for State College.
“It’s nice to have some friends in the Keystone to reach out and get some game film from them,” Knepp said. “We watched some of that and passed on what we saw of them (to the girls).”
With the win, the Huskies (5-8 overall) will face the undefeated Altoona Lions in the District 6 Class 4A title game on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
“We (played) Altoona earlier and they’re a good squad. We know that being on turf is going to be even tougher,” Knepp said. “I think there are things we can take from this. State (College) was good all over the field. They didn’t have any weaknesses and that’s what Altoona is going to bring.”
Mifflin County 3, State College 1
SC 1 0–1
MC 3 0–3
Goals: MC–Aubrey Strohecker 3, SC–Paola Melendez. Assists: SC–Kate Lundy. Shots: 13-11 SC. Corners: 8-7 SC. Saves: MC-6 (Bailey McNitt), SC-2 (Evie Lenze).