Maddie Yanc

Cambridge Springs’ Maddie Yanc stops a shot by Seneca’s Rebecca Pound during a Region 3 girls soccer game on Monday in Saegertown. Yanc had 11 saves in the Blue Devils’ 2-0 win.

SAEGERTOWN — Cambridge Springs opened up its soccer season at home and it became clear throughout the game that the veteran Blue Devils’ defense is going to be stingy in 2019.

On Monday afternoon, the Blue Devils played flawless defense and defeated Seneca 2-0 in a Region 3 girls soccer match at the French Creek Valley Christian School.

It was a strong start for a Blue Devils team that has been looking up to Seneca in the standings for a few years now.

“Seneca has lost some good players from last year, but that team has been to the (District) 10 finals four years in a row,” said Blue Devils head coach Geoff Bristow.

“They played so well in terms of their shape and their organization,” said Bristow.

The senior-laden defense featuring Myra Granat, Haley Sella and Tessa Deets took on all the early challenges from the Bobcats and withstood each test. 

Seneca began the game by sending the ball out wide to Kendall Joint and each of her early crosses narrowly missed their target and the Blue Devils smartly and quickly launched the ball out to midfield safely.

“They played so well in terms of their shape and their organization,” said Bristow.

That made things easy for sophomore Maddie Yanc in goal, who was able to shut down all the Bobcats shots and start the game with a six-save first half.

Cambridge finally broke through with a strong counter-attack. Ella Nicholson sprinted down the right wing and used her speed to blow by the defense. With just the keeper to beat, Nicholson launched the ball high near-side for the opening tally in the 30th minute. The score remained the same until the halftime break.

In the second half, it was more of the same from Seneca. A few early chances that either went wide or were snagged by Yanc. Nothing ever was too dangerous to really scare the Blue Devils’ faithful in the crowd.

“We didn’t let them behind us very often. We have four seniors back there as starters and they’ve got a lot of experience. They were nice and calm back there,” added Bristow. 

The best chance for Seneca was when Rebecca Pound got through the defense. Her shot was tapped, slow rolled and hit the left post. It ricocheted back to Pound, who fired again, but this time Yanc was there to smother it.

“(Yanc) is so good. She’s only in 10th grade and she’s just a great athlete, got great hands, she’s learning the game and she’s got just great reactions,” Bristow said.

Yanc wound up with 11 saves in the shutout win.

The Blue Devils put the game away when Nicholson sprinted on the right edge of the box and cut back. She passed the ball low and to the right foot of Maggie Braymer, who hit the ball high and to the right side of the net for the insurance goal.

“Ball on the ground, four or five passes to find the open player who turned and put it right in the goal,” said Bristow. “That’s all you can ask for as a coach is that awareness and recognition of where the opportunity was.”

Cambridge Springs improves to 1-0 overall and in Region 3. Seneca falls to 2-1 and 0-1 in region.

Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at jhansgen@meadvilletribune.com

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