By BARRY SANKEY
SCHUYLKILL -- A girls soccer schedule with a bevy of away games had not been kind to Perkiomen Valley to start the 2008 campaign.
But on Wednesday afternoon, the Vikings took another road trip to play Phoenixville at CAT-Pickering. This time Perk Valley did come out on top, 1-0, on a first-half goal in the Pioneer Athletic Conference contest.
Senior Robyn Yenney scored the goal from 15 yards out with an assist by sophomore Lauren Liacouras at 22 minutes into the first half to give the Vikes their first league victory of the season.
"That was nice to give us the lead," said Perkiomen Valley coach Kim Paulus. "Yesterday (Tuesday) we were ahead against Upper Perk and let it slip away. It was nice to bounce back and win today (Wednesday)."
Junior goalkeeper Amie Cross posted the shutout for Perkiomen Valley (1-5) with eight saves, six of them coming in the second half. Marlee Farbstein, Phoenixville's freshman keeper, also notched eight saves in the fray.
"We have had a stretch of away games and obstacles this season," Paulus said. "Two of
our best players are sidelined for the season. Two more are playing through pain. One has a broken arm and the other is playing with a serious knee injury. These are our experienced players so youth is carrying the load for us, but they are playing competitive and playing hard. They are hanging in there and I am happy with that. Every game is a battle for us."
Sophomore forward Savannah Smith played a splendid game for Phoenixville in gaining penetration into the Vikings' end of the field. However, the Vikings proceeded to defend her with multiple players to break up potential scoring opportunities.
"We tried to let her (Smith) tire herself out running," Paulus said. "We tried to keep her on the outside. Occasionally she was in the middle. Defensively, we did a pretty good job of shutting everybody down and holding up with two sophomores and two freshmen in the back."
The Vikings' top defenders included freshmen Emily Armstrong and Lauren Valerio as well as sophomores Emily Wasserman and Jess Boyle.
Perkiomen Valley outshot Phoenixville, 14-11, in a game that featured a lot of midfield action. The Phantoms (2-1-1, 3-2-1) held a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.
"It definitely went back and forth a lot," said Phoenixville first-year head coach Jason Short. "Our girls played hard, but I don't think we made good decisions. The goal they scored was definitely a mental breakdown. PV played well. They switched the field very effectively."
Phoenixville's best scoring chance came when senior Denna Allen had an attempt hit the top of the crossbar and then carom off the left post at the 16-minute mark of the second half.
"We only had two or three real good opportunities," Short said. "It was not as many as either side would like. But the ball played a lot in the midfield. We're just having a real tough time finishing and organizing around the box right now."
The speedy Smith, he said, needs help in helping create plays that can convert into scoring chances and goals.
"The whole PAC-10 knows about Savannah," Short said. "We are pretty much in a rut. We play the ball into her, but we don't give her much support. It is like putting her on an island with her and the whole back four. We didn't play very smart today."
The Phantoms will try to regroup for a road game against Methacton this afternoon. They also have two guaranteed non-league games at the Radnor Tournament this Friday and Saturday evenings, which amounts to four games in four days for this young group.
NOTES ... Perkiomen Valley's Paige Hanley, Emily Brooks and Liacouras had shots that were either stopped by Farbstein or went wide of the net. ... Phantom junior defensive back Megan Cabot came up with a key second-half save.
Perkiomen Valley 1, Phoenixville 0
Perkiomen Valley 1 0 - 1 Phoenixville 0 0 - 0
Goals: PV-Robyn Yenney. Px-none.
Saves: PV-Amie Cross 8. Px-Marlee Farbstein 8.