Upper Perk midfielder Lauren Bonar gives the ball the boot at center field during play Monday afternoon against visiting Methacton.
Baby steps. That is what the young and inexperienced Upper Perkioimen girls soccer team had to be satisfied with after absorbing a 3-1 loss from Methacton on Monday.
The visiting Warriors, now 3-1 in the PAC-10’s Liberty Division, held a large territorial edge in play against a rebuilding Upper Perk squad, but Tribe coach Mike Freed preferred to see the plusses in his team’s play.
“We’re still working our way into who is playing where and just trying to get comfortable with how we are playing. Today was a definite improvement for us,” Freed noted.
Despite Methacton’s offensive dominance, the game was only 1-1 nine minutes into the second half until Julie Primavera headed the ball off the outstretched fingertips of Tribe keeper Maggie Ortlip (seven saves).
Ten minutes later, Primavera scored again after sneaking past the Upper Perk defenders to give the Warriors their two-goal advantage.
The Indians had fallen behind early in the game after the Warriors' Jordyn Slocum cashed in on an opportunity in front of the goal to open the scoring.
That tally came after a flurry in the Upper Perk end that included a sprawling save by Ortlip on a shot by Hailey Sherman, and a ball off the post 30 seconds later from the foot of Kelly Glatthorn.
Upper Perk’s Kalyn Kates, playing her first game at right wing, got that goal back in the nineteenth minute after breaking away from Methacton’s defenders and pumping a shot into a wide open net.
“I just stayed wide and the defense didn’t recognize it,” Kates said about her second goal of the season.
But scoring opportunities were few and far between the rest of the way for the Tribe. The home team’s best chance came with 17 minutes left in the contest when sophomore Raychel Bair made an outstanding run through the Warriors defenders before chipping the ball over the net.
“They’re pretty good,” Kates said. “They were strong at clearing it out quickly instead of playing around with it.”
Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, Ortlip was kept busy in goal.
“She’s played really, really well for us,” Upper Perk head coach Mike Freed said. “Of the many struggles we’ve had, that’s not an area we’ve struggled with. She’s grown leaps and bounds from where she started last year.”
Freed is hoping for the same type of improvement from the rest of his squad as the Tribe (2-3, 2-4-1) tries to make a run at a PAC-10 playoff berth in the Frontier Division.
While a few seniors return from last year’s team, not many of them played key roles in 2010.
Freed noted, “There’s a big difference between being a support player and now having to step up. We’re growing into that, but unfortunately that’s going to take a little bit of time.”
It is also taking time to for the players to learn to play cohesively.
“We’re having trouble with our formation but we’re getting it worked out,” Kates noted.
“Our midfielders were able to keep things high; we had been collapsing back a little bit where we’re leaving two players stranded,” Freed explained. “We were able to do a better job with that (today). It’s baby steps, but it’s a little improvement, and we just need to go on from there.”