Upper Perk's Aubrey Gibbs, right, attempts to block a kick from a Methacton player in Thursday night's home game.
The Upper Perkiomen girls soccer team's 3-0 loss to Perkiomen Valley Friday afternoon was the sour icing on a stale cake following a tough week for the team.
After getting off to a strong start this season, the Tribe (3-4-3, 4-6-3 overall) was forced to swallow their first four conference losses sequentially, belying how well the team played on the field.
“It was an unfortunate week for us,” coach Mike Freed said Friday. “But up until this week, we played some great soccer.”
But Freed said he was still proud of the way his team played, considering the circumstances.
For starters, star forward Kayla Smith was out due to injury, impacting the offense. Then, before Friday’s game, goalkeeper Maggie Ortlip fell ill and Hannah Long was put in the position at the last minute.
“We were playing with some banged-up players,” Freed said. “And Hannah got thrown to the wolves.”
You wouldn’t have known it to watch her, though. Long managed to get her hands on the ball numerous times, keeping it out of the net the entire first half.
But the heartbreaking loss the team suffered the night before surely didn’t do them any favors.
“Last night we played absolutely superb against Methacton and then lost 1-0 with two seconds left,” Freed said. “It’s absolutely brutal to play a night game in high school and then play an after-school game.”
Despite that, the team’s morale seemed unphased as they fought hard against the Vikings.
The game started off as a brutal battle for control of the ball in the midfield, rarely making it close to either team’s goal. About halfway through the first half, Erica Greco made her way quickly and cautiously up the field only to be swarmed by Perk Valley defenders.
Once the ball made it back to the midfield, though, Kalyn Kates managed a long lob into Viking territory and the offense was able to keep the ball on that side of the field for several minutes. But after a shot from Greco soared just high and left, Perk Valley’s Katie Thomas took the ball back across midfield.
The teams spent most of the rest of the half trading shots, neither able to capitalize. Greco stood out with several drives to the PV goal, the last of which ended with a close shot on goal blocked at the last minute by Thomas, coming out of nowhere to get the stop.
Kates got the second half off to a start, dancing the ball downfield and passing to Greco, who fired off another shot into the arms of the keeper.
Perk Valley immediately took control of the ball, bringing it back across the field. After a scuffle for control of the ball at midfield, PV’s Jess Enriquez took it to the goal, her shot rolling off of Long’s fingers. Kelly Balzereit managed to knock the ball in off of the ensuing corner from Tresa Franz in the sixth minute of the half.
Katie Thomas fed Rachel Yenney for another goal in the 66th minute while another Franz corner proved to be the final say in the game, Lauren Fried putting it in the back of the net in the 79th minute.
Despite the tough loss and the deflating week, Freed seemed optimistic.
“We control our own destiny,” he said. He added that Kayla Smith will be back in next week, which will help the offense, and the team will get a second crack at Pottsgrove and Phoenixville, two of the teams the Indians have tied, this week.
“We just need to move on and get ourselves regrouped,” he said.