CLARKS SUMMIT — Ally Christman reached a milestone, scoring her 50th career goal, on a penalty shot in the 21st minute and added two more first-half goals to lead third-seeded Abington Heights past sixth-seeded Holy Redeemer, 3-1, in a District 2 Class 2A girls soccer quarterfinal match Thursday afternoon at Hillside Park.
Both teams had a few scoring chances in the first 20 minutes, but failed to produce a goal until Christman was fouled inside the box after a long run. The senior struck the penalty shot off the left post past Holy Redeemer goalkeeper Gabby Tomasura to give the Comets a 1-0 lead.
“I wasn’t trying to hit it off the bottom post, I just tried to get it low and place it in the corner,” Christman said.
Redeemer’s Lydia Lawson had a scoring opportunity less than a minute later but Comets goalkeeper Johanna Show made the save.
Christman gave Abington Heights a 2-0 lead in the 25th minute by scoring off a well-placed cross from Allyson Derry.
“It was a beautiful ball, basically to my foot,” Christman said. “I just had to finish it.”
Holy Redeemer struck for its only goal in the 30th minute. Defender Leeann Wasiakowski played a ball toward the goal that carried through the wind and bounced over Show to cut the Lady Royals deficit to 2-1.
Abington Heights (14-2) regained a two-goal advantage in the 39th minute when Christman completed her hat trick with a left-footed strike after receiving a through ball from Emily Clauss.
“She hit that shot so hard,” Abington Heights head coach Roger Jacobs said. “It was incredible. I’ve never seen her hit a left-footed ball that hard, let alone score a goal off one.”
Holy Redeemer (13-4) generated several quality scoring chances in the second half, including header attempts from Lawson and Nicole Cavanaugh, and a hard shot from Autumn Kaminski, but were unable to cut into the Lady Comets lead.
“We didn’t play to our potential today,” Holy Redeemer head coach Robert Hughes said. “Not taking anything away from Abington Heights, they played great. I told the girls they have nothing to hang their heads about. We didn’t reach the goal we wanted, but we had a really good year.”
Christman was denied a fourth goal when Tomasura came out to challenge her shot on a breakaway attempt in the 69th minute.
Abington Heights defender Emily Bonsick believes the team’s cohesiveness as a group played a big role in their win.
The Comets defense limited Lawson, who scored six goals in Redeemer’s win over Berwick in the first round, to five scoring attempts and kept her off the scoreboard.
“We communicate well and that really helps us,” Bonsick said. “We tell each other where to go and have people call out their marks.
“(Lawson’s) fast,” Bonsick said. “We had Carina (Salerno) on her and she did an excellent job defending. It was extremely helpful to our defense.”
Abington Heights will travel to play second-seeded Scranton Prep in the semifinals at 2:15 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.