WORCESTER - The key for Methacton in Wednesday's PAC-10 girls' soccer game against Phoenixville was simple - send the ball wide, bring it back across and finish. The Warriors knew what the key looked like and where to find it.
However, it wasn't until the final stages of the second overtime period that Methacton took advantage. With just over two minutes remaining, the Warriors used the key to unlock a 1-0 conference win.
As the game moved into its last three minutes, sophomore midfielder Allie Holland started a counter attack at midfield. She took it wide down the left side and then delivered a well-placed cross to Leanne Heuer.
Heuer collected the pass and then provided the Warriors with the finishing touch they had been missing all day. Her winning goal came with 7:35 showing on the scoreboard clock - meaning that there was just 2:25 left until the final whistle.
"Allie sent me the ball," said Heuer, a junior forward. "I was surprised. It was a fast ball into the middle and they (Phoenixville's backs) didn't have time to get back. It was a very good pass from Allie. I trapped it, took a touch and hit it into the goal."
The teams entered the contest with apparently different mindsets.
The Phantoms, who had just played a 100-minute, double-overtime game against Perkiomen Valley on Monday, were in a defensive mode - happy to keep a large number of players back in the Warriors' offensive zone. Methacton, on the other hand, used an impressive short passing game to keep the ball on attack and to apply constant pressure on Phoenixville's backline.
For the Phantoms, it was "destroy and disrupt." For the Warriors, it was "create and wait" - wait for space to open in front of the Phoenixville goal.
Unfortunately for Methacton, that space did not open up very much. Instead, there were clusters of purple jerseys in front of them whenever they brought the ball to the middle. But, they still kept trying to take the ball through the center.
"We wanted to play conservative - to be more laid-back," said Phoenixville coach Jason Short, whose team is now 4-3-1. "We
didn't want to push the envelope. We focused on getting back and keeping the ball in front of us. They kept playing right to our strength and our back line did a phenomenal job."
The Warriors' standout junior midfielder Briana McGinnis said, "I think we kept playing to the middle because there would be three of us and only two of them. With people open, the temptation was there. So, we went there instead of playing the ball wide.
"But, when we went to the middle, there were always four people in front of us. We needed to have perfect balls because their defense was packed in at the 18 (yard line). Our biggest problem all year has been finishing."
Methacton coach Bret Smith, whose team is now 6-2-1, said, "It would have been really frustrating to get a tie today - especially the way we controlled the ball. I thought Phoenixville played well defensively. We're more of a finesse team but it's tough to finesse when the other team has so many players back."