HONESDALE — Abington Heights invaded the Maple City on an idyllic late summer afternoon for a Lackawanna League soccer showdown with the Lady Hornets.
The Comets entered this crossover match undefeated and sent local fans home disappointed by notching yet another impressive win.
Abington unleashed a relentless offensive assault early on, scoring three goals before intermission and putting the game out of reach. Despite a 3-0 loss, Honesdale Coach Eric Eisele remained upbeat and optimistic.
"We lost to a very good team today, but it wasn't for lack of effort or hustle," he told TWI Sports just moments after the final whistle.
"I'm very pleased with how we tightened our defense up in the second half. We might not have scored any goals, by I guarantee you that Abington Heights knows they were in a game today."
With this loss, the Lady Hornets fell to 1-4-0 on the regular season. The Comets are now 3-0-2 and alone atop the Division One standings.
Next up for Honesdale is a rare Saturday morning road trip to Scranton. There, the Red & Black will battle Prep beginning at 11:00 a.m.
On the Pitch
Honesdale played terrific defense against a high-powered opponent on Thursday.
Abington peppered the Red & Black net with an eye-popping 27 shots. The Comets also enjoyed a 3-to-1 edge in corners. Nevertheless, the local lasses never flinched.
"They really turned up the pressure on us in the first half," Coach Eisele said. "Honestly, this could have been a much worse score, but our defense responded to the challenge."
Alison Martin anchored that defense on this particular day. The Lady Hornets' sophomore keeper turned away one Abington attack after another and received rave reviews from her mentor.
"If there's an MVP for us today, it would have to be Allie Martin," Coach Eisele said. "She made some unbelievable stops during the first half and really kept us in the game."
Martin finished the day with 20 saves...two of which were simply spectacular.
"I tell you what: there were a couple of times when I thought I was looking at Hope Solo out there," Coach Eisele said of his talented young keeper. "Allie made a couple of saves that were just fantastic. She was really on her game today."
The Comets did manage to get three balls past Martin en route to a 3-0 win.
Alex Chapman broke the ice in the 8th minute, banging the ball home off a pinpoint pass by teammate Abbey Burke. Emma Henzes made it 2-0 at the 31:40 mark, thanks to an assist by Ketrina Helcoski.
Page 2 of 2 - Chapman closed out the scoring with her second goal of the afternoon. This one came courtesy of Perinne Wasser in the 35th minute.
Over & Out
Honesdale was under constant pressure from Abington attackers and consequently wasn't able to generate many scoring chances.
Comet keeper Melanie Coles stopped every shot she did face in earning her second shutout of the young season.
However, when the Lady Hornets did mount an assault, Seneca Propst was the instigator. A senior who plays both in the midfield and at striker, Propst proved to be a nightmarish match-up problem for Abington.
"You know what you're going to get with Seneca," Coach Eisele said. "She's going to give you 100 percent from start to finish. Seneca loves to play the game and it shows. It's just non-stop hustle with her."
Mackenzie Dirlam and Haylee Goodenough also warranted special mention from their skipper.
Dirlam also plays midfield and striker. She's a junior who brings grit and determination with her to the pitch.
"Mackenzie hasn't played organized soccer since 7th grade and we're very happy to have her back," Coach Eisele said. "She's really rounding into shape out there. I'm really expecting big things from Mackenzie in the second half of the season."
Goodenough is a junior midfielder who impressed Honesdale's staff with hard-nosed play and crisp passing against a suffocating Comet defense.
"This was probably the best game I've seen from Haylee in quite some time," Coach Eisele said. "She wall over the field today. Haylee really stepped up to the challenge and I'm very happy with what I saw from her."
Score by Half...
HON (1-4-0) 0 0 - 0
AH (3-0-2) 3 0 - 3