CLARKS SUMMIT — An early goal can give a team a lot of momentum in soccer.
That was certainly the case during Abington Heights’ 4-1, win over Scranton Prep in a Lackawanna League Division 2 girls soccer match on Sept. 14 at Clarks Summit Elementary School.
Less than two minutes into the action, Hannah Kowalski found the back of the net off a free kick from Emily Mahoney after a handball violation was called on Scranton Prep to give the Lady Comets a 1-0 lead.
“I knew the keeper was pretty big, so I knew we had to keep the ball low,” said Kowalski about her team-leading sixth goal of the season. “I was focusing on that the whole time before (Mahoney) played the ball. I tried to get on the back post as much as I could and was lucky it went through her legs.
“It was so uplifting. It was a really big moment and gave us a lot of confidence and motivation to score a couple more.”
Scranton Prep goalkeeper AJ Hendershot made two of her four saves in the six minutes following the first goal and Kerry McGrath had a quality scoring chance for the Classics that sailed over the crossbar in the 19th minute.
Abington Heights (5-1, 4-0 Div. 2) took a 2-0 lead when Emily Clauss slipped a goal past Hendershot off a pass from Mahoney in the 22nd minute during a downpour that persisted throughout most of the first half.
“I saw (Emily) Mahoney and was ready for the pass,” Clauss said. “We’ve done it millions of times at practice. She saw me and I just connected.”
Kelly Seechock gave Abington Heights a three-goal lead in the 27th minute when she beat the goalkeeper after a long run down the field.
“I got a really good pass from Leia Parry, read with the goalie was doing and tried to get it past her,” Seechock said.
Seechock was one of four different goal scorers for the Lady Comets.
“It was a good team effort,” she said. “We have a lot of players who can step up and really help out.”
A 30-minute lightning delay, called during the final minutes of the halftime break, pushed back the start of the second half.
Scranton Prep (3-2, 3-1 Div. 2) scored its first goal on a shot from McGrath from just outside the penalty box in the 65th minute.
Both teams had quality scoring chances in the ensuing 10 minutes of play, but Hendershot deflected a shot from Abington Heights’ Lauren Simakaski off the goal post in the 70th minute and Lady Comets goalkeeper Trish Caucci stopped a point-blank shot from McGrath with a sprawling kick save in the 74rd minute.
Abington Heights’ Carina Salerno added a goal off the rebound of an Allyson Derry shot in the 79th minute.
The Lady Comets outshot the Classics, 19-9, including a 10-3 advantage in the first half.
The win was especially rewarding for many Abington Heights players as Scranton Prep had been victorious in six of the last seven matches between the teams.
“This means everything right now,” Seechock said. “This is what we’ve been waiting for and it feels good.”
Abington Heights will travel to play Crestwood in a non-league game at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.