Rolling Devils

Cambridge Springs’ Emily Merrit (left) hugs goal keeper Savannah Risjan during the Blue Devils’ Region 3 girls soccer showdown with Maplewood on Monday. Merritt scored her first career goal and Risjan kept the Tigers off the board as the Blue Devils rolled to a 7-0 win.

SAEGERTOWN — Give Cambridge Springs’ Alaina Budzbanowski a clear shot from the right side of the pitch, and look out. 

The sophomore Blue Devil delivered two assists on corner kicks out of the far right angle, and then scored one for herself on a direct kick from the right sideline as the Spa dropped Region 3 girls soccer foe Maplewood 7-0 on Monday at French Creek Valley Christian School. 

The win has Cambridge off to a 3-0-0 start to the 2014 season, including a 2-0-0 mark in Region 3. Maplewood is 0-2-0 both overall and in the region. 

The scoring started for Cambridge about six minutes into the first half.

Budzbanowski drove the ball out of the corner, right onto the noggin of teammate Gina Peters, who flicked it in for the tally. 

Seven minutes later, Budzbanowski lined up another kick near the right flag. This one found teammate Taylor Babb in front of the goal, who headed it into the twine. 

“I give them credit,” said Maplewood head coach Ted Eriksen, “those two headers they scored, those were beautiful set plays. They have players that can run forward and head the ball, which, in high school, coaches dream of coming along. And they are really tough to defend. The goalies can’t tell which direction they’re going to come.” 

Then, at around the 30 minute mark, Cambridge was awarded a direct kick near the right sideline, a little off the corner of the penalty box. Budzbanowski got the call to deliver. And she did just that, bypassing the crowd in front of the goal and putting the ball right on net. Maplewood goalie Hannah Donaldson got a piece of it, but not enough. 

So it was 3-0 Cambridge after one half. But Cambridge head coach Geoff Bristow wasn’t entirely satisfied. 

“We couldn’t score on the run of the play,” he said. “We scored on set pieces — on corners and a direct kick. 

“But play got much better in the second half.” 

Bristow got what he was looking for about 15 minutes in the second period. Babb had worked the ball down low on the right side, and delivered a terrific cross to Peters, who tucked it just inside the left post for her second goal of the afternoon, making it 4-0 Blue Devils. 

“That’s when their energy level picked up,” said Bristow. “We were kind of panicking with the ball and passing it into the Maplewood girls. And in the second half we calmed down and played a little bit better.” 

With approximately 20 minutes to play, Blue Devils’ sophomore Emily Merritt found herself with a loose ball about 20 feet from the goal. She delivered a terrific arc over the head of Donaldson that just slipped under the crossbar to make it 5-0. 

“(Merritt) is a sophomore and that’s her first ever goal,” said Bristow. “She’s always played in the back. And she’s never really had the confidence to take a shot. But she stepped up and she hit that one well.” 

Ten minutes later, Babb notched her second tally of the match when she dribbled through Maplewood’s line of defenders and beat Donaldson one-on-one. 

And shortly before the game was over, the Spa’s Ashleigh Scott put the final marker in the books, turning on a loose ball in the penalty zone and plugging it into the net for goal No. 7. 

Cambridge Springs goalkeeper Savannah Risjan needed just one save to earn the shutout in goal. Brenna Digiacomo also worked the final 15 minutes between the pipes for the Blue Devils. 

All together, Cambridge had 33 shots in the match, including 21 on goal. 

“They were definitely faster and more aggressive to the loose balls,” said Eriksen. “They pressured us harder than we pressured them. Especially in the offensive zone. We allowed them to get out too easily and we spent a lot of time chasing them and that wore us out.” 

Donaldson made 14 saves for the Lady Tigers. 

Pete Chiodo can be reached at 724-6370 ext. 275 or by email at pchiodo@meadvilletribune.com

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