CARLISLE — It wasn’t quite an upset of epic proportions, but Carlisle girls soccer’s win Tuesday was an impressive upset nonetheless.
The Thundering Herd stunned rival Cumberland Valley 2-0 at Ken Millen Stadium.
How rare is such a win in this series? The last time the Herd beat Cumberland Valley was 2007 with the group of Erin Hench and Molly Bletz. They defeated the Eagles both times that season.
This time around, it was Alyssa Myers who came off the bench to tally both Herd goals in the second half. And the Herd (10-5-1, 6-3-1 Commonwealth) defense, led by keeper Madalyn Brymesser, shut out the Eagles (13-2-1, 9-1-1) for their first division loss of the season.
“It is amazing. We have been working so hard for this, and we all knew we had it,” Brymesser said. “We knew what to expect, and the defense communicated and played so well together. It was so great to see Alyssa score two goals. We had confidence after playing them the first time, and we have been talking about that game all week.”
The first half was about defense. Both offenses produced multiple chances early, but both keepers, Abbie Miller for CV and Brymesser, were in position to clean up the loose balls.
The best opportunity was a feed from Carlisle’s Sierra Young to Lydia Ring, but her shot missed wide.
Katie Brown almost gave the Eagles the lead in the second half from distance, but her shot sailed high, glanced off the crossbar and Brymesser was able to cover it.
Sejla Podzic, a sophomore who continues to create opportunities for the Herd with her speed, ball handling and size while fighting off defenders, created another one Tuesday.
Podzic sent a cross into the box. Myers was there and swung, but the ball rolled off her foot and into the corner of the net to give the Herd a 1-0 lead.
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Myers added a second goal as Emma Ahl fed a through ball, and Myers beat an onrushing Abbie Miller for the second goal.
“It feels amazing, and I can’t even explain it,” Myers said. “It was the best feeling and even better to score both goals. It was the best day of my life. Emma is so good and put that ball right where I needed. We have a lot of growing to do as a team, and if we can stick together we can do good things.”
The Herd roster lists two seniors, Sierra Young and Isabella Byus, who is injured.
The rest of the team consists of underclassmen. Of the 11 starters, six are sophomores, two juniors and two are freshmen. They have started to play with much more confidence, as evidence by last week’s 2-2 tie with Central Dauphin and Tuesday’s dramatic win.
The Eagles had several shots to get on the board, but Brymesser was there to gather them all. She also did a solid job of reading balls and coming out to field them.
“I just think we outworked them tonight,’ Herd head coach Greg Clippinger said. “I am so proud of the girls and their effort tonight. Alyssa came off the bench to score two goals tonight. She is a goal scorer and has worked hard to improve her game. I thought our midfielders and defense played very well. The key will be how they come out the next game. The kids played a really smart game.”
“You are trying to convince them there is no ceiling for them if they believe in themselves and committed to each other and be smart, “Clippinger said. “You have to have patience with this group of kids, and people start to doubt and think we should change this and that. We are working with them on belief and how to win by outworking the other team. They listened, and learned and they just have to do what we are talking about.”
The win was a boon for Carlisle’s District 3 Class 4A playoff chances. The Herd jumped to No. 12, a hair behind Hershey, after the win. Sixteen teams make the 4A field. The district tournament begins Oct. 22.