SCRANTON — When Carina Salerno had a hard shot smack off the crossbar and fall straight down in the 54th minute, she was determined to eventually find the back of the net.
When an opportunity presented itself in the third minute of overtime, she took a pass from Hannah Kowalski and slipped the ball past Scranton Prep goalkeeper AJ Hendershot to give Abington Heights a 1-0 win over the Classics Oct. 18 at Loyola Field.
“I definitely wanted to get one (after hitting the bar),” Salerno said. “We knew we could come out with a win, so we just played our hardest. I saw where (the keeper) was looking and just placed my shot in the corner.”
Abington Heights appeared to have a quality scoring chance just four minutes into the match, but Hendershot came out to play the ball before Kelly Seechock could attempt a shot.
“Her confidence has grown as a keeper and you can see it in the way she plays,” Scranton Prep head coach Doug Knieser said of Hendershot, who made eight saves.” She’s not afraid to come out and challenge.”
The Lady Comets outshot the Classics, 9-1, in the first half and had a great scoring chance in the 37th minute, but Hendershot made a leaping save on a rising shot from Kowalski.
Hendershot made an equally impressive kick save on an attempt from Seechock in front of the net in the 48th minute.
“She’s been bailing us out of tough situations all season,” Knieser said.
Kowalski set up Seechock for a shot inside the 12-yard box in the 45th minute, but Hendershot was up to the task and made a sliding save.
“We wanted to possess the ball the way we know we can and try to get shots on goal,” Kowalski said. “The bench did a good job pumping us and we just took it to them as hard as we could.”
Scranton Prep (8-4) settled things down a little bit in the second half, outshooting the Comets, 6-5, and had several scoring chances including two shots on frame from Angelina Falcone.
“I felt we had one of our strongest performances,” Knieser said. “Abington (Heights) is a very strong team, we kind of absorbed their push and were able to fight back a little bit. I challenged the girls to see how far they’ve come and I felt they stepped up to the challenge, especially in the second half.”
Abington Heights won both regular season meetings against Scranton Prep for the first time since 2011.
“It’s never happened during the time any of these girls have been here, so it feels really good,” Kowalski said.” We’re all psyched.”
Abington Heights (11-1) will play Wallenpaupack (11-1) for the Lackawanna League Division 2 championship at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at North Pocono.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.