Strohecker’s hat trick lifts Huskies
LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County girls soccer team used physical play and a hat trick from Aubrey Strohecker to power its way past Mid-Penn Keystone rival Waynesboro on Tuesday evening at Mifflin County Middle School.
Strohecker fought through physical defense and drew multiple fouls in the opening half, before scoring on a breakaway and winning a contested header for the team’s second goal. She scored a third goal in the final seven minutes to cement a hat trick and salt away a late rally by the Indians.
Strohecker clearly outran a pair of Waynesboro defenders and outmuscled her way through contact to score the games’ opening goal in the 8th minute, before forcing her way into the box with one defender and the goalie to beat for her second. Strohecker headed the ball just over the goaltender and it bounced into the net 20 minutes later to give the Huskies the 2-0 advantage.
“Getting two goals early is huge,” Huskies’ coach Barrett Knepp said. “It sets the tone for the game, for sure. We knew Waynesboro was going to be physical. There were some calls that I thought could have gone our way early on but it’s alright. We will take the ball in the back of the net.”
Once Mifflin County got the advantage the Huskies cruised and were able to keep and win possession throughout the evening. Mifflin County was strong on the attack, moving the ball well down the field to generate chances and quality shots all night.
“We struggled on Saturday with that,” Knepp said. “We didn’t adjust well and we didn’t play well or do all the things that we know how to do and we worked on that yesterday in practice. It showed tonight.”
Mifflin County’s third goal of the night came on an unusual sequence, as Strohecker lined up to take a penalty kick. Waynesboro’s goalie made an incredible save in front of the right post, but a Waynesboro defender moved into the box before the ball was kicked, awarding Mifflin County another penalty kick.
Brynn Knepp converted the Huskies’ second chance and Mifflin County took a 3-0 lead into the second half.
Knepp was also pleased with the way his midfielders executed their touches and helped the Huskies be quick in transition. The Huskies’ Ella Kammerer scored in the second half and Strohecker’s third goal came almost 30 minutes later as Mifflin County was in control.
“That makes a big difference,” Knepp said. “When everyone contributes, it takes the pressure of off any one player and that is huge.”
Waynesboro got on the board late, as AJ Vedell scored in the 63rd minute and Grace French scored in the 78th minute on a breakaway with the game already decided.
While he was disappointed in the defensive lapses, he was pleased with the team’s effort throughout the evening. He hopes to see his team focus on shutting down opportunities for his opponents before Thursday’s matchup with Lower Dauphin.
“I was really hoping to keep a clean sheet, but at the same time it’s nice to see that we still have some things to work on,” Knepp said. “We’ll work on that and hopefully get that fixed.”
Mifflin County’s Bailey McNitt was solid in net, fending away 17 shots by the Waynesboro offense.
“Bailey’s been solid all year,” Knepp said. “She hasn’t faced a lot of shots, but when she has, she has come up with a lot of key saves.”
Mifflin County 5, Waynesboro 2
MC 3 2 — 5
W 0 2 — 2
MC — Aubrey Strohecker (Brynn Knepp) 7:36, Aubrey Strohecker 17:36, Brynn Knepp (PK) 27:37
MC — Ella Kammerer (Brynn Knepp) 45:25, Aubrey Strohecker (Ella Kammerer) 72:24.
W — AJ Vedell (Megan Miller) 62:46, Grace French 77:10
Shots: 19-14, W. Corners: 6-1, W. Saves: Bailey McNitt 17 (MC); Kiaya Mouer 9 (W).