Pam Pack fall to old rival D.H. ConleyPublished 11:34am Wednesday, March 12, 2014
When the former Big East dissolved following last season, precious in-conference basketball rivalries like Syracuse-Connecticut, Rutgers-Seton Hall and Villanova-Pittsburgh came to a close, but some still managed to endure this season in the out-of-conference schedule.
On Tuesday, two former conference rivals took to the pitch to settle a score. The Pam Pack looked to carry the momentum from their stellar eight-goal performance against Camden County on Monday when they matched up against D.H. Conley. Despite a season-high 21-save performance from junior goalie Emily Alligood, Washington could not contain the Vikings skilled offensive attack, as the Pam Pack lost their second match of the young season, 2-0.
“We’re still trying to find our team chemistry on offense, and I was happy with the way our defense did,” said head coach Ed Rodriguez. “We just gave up a bad rebound goal. They played well, and we just need to need to find more togetherness in the midfield.”
The midfield is where Conley winger Kinley Orians used her technical footwork to her advantage, creating opportunities for her teammates by working the ball to the top of the box. Just minutes into the contest, Orians’ penetration forced a chaotic scuffle in front of the net, which allowed Conley’s Ava Dawson to find teammate Sami McLaughlin on a cross for an early strike.
A sense of urgency took over following the Vikings’ goal, and the Pam Pack dialed up the intensity. Senior Christian Heggie ripped a shot to the upper corner of the Vikings’ net, but was denied. Then, just minutes later, senior captain Alana Jefferson executed a perfectly placed far-post cross to sophomore forward Isabella Mayo. Mayo connected and came inches away from evening the match in the fifth minute.
The remainder of the first half proved to be a back-and-forth affair, with Alligood being the difference maker. Her ability to read the offense, react and determine whether or not to leave the net kept the Pam Pack in the game.
With 10 minutes remaining the second half, Jefferson fired off a strike from about 25 yards out, finishing about a half a foot away from her third goal of the season.
In the second half, fatigue began to break up the Washington midfield. Orians continued to dribble through Pam Pack defenders and force the ball to the middle of the field, where Dawson took advantage. In the 60th minute, McLaughlin found an open Dawson in the Washington box for the final and game-sealing goal.
Conley controlled the game over the final minutes and held the Pam Pack to just a few lack-luster opportunities at the net.
“We still can get a lot better,” Rodriguez said. “Once we find that rhythm, we’ll find our niche on offense.”
The loss drops the Pam Pack to a 1-2 record with four non-conference games remaining. Washington hits the road for the first time this season to face Northeastern in Elizabeth City this afternoon.