PHILIPSBURG — The Clearfield girls soccer team scored three, second-half goals to pull away from host Philipsburg-Osceola 4-0 Monday afternoon at Mountaineer Stadium.
Elle Smith netted three goals for the Lady Bison, who improved to 9-4 with the win, while Emma Hipps recorded one and added an assist. Riley Ryen picked up a pair of assists in the game.
Clearfield controlled play in the first half, but had little to show for it.
Despite keeping the ball on P-O’s side of the field for nearly the entire first half, the Lady Bison managed just six shots on goal against the Lady Mounties, who packed in extra defenders around the box to make things difficult for the visitors.
Clearfield struggled to connect passes against the P-O defense and started taking shots from too far outside the box that either went wide or were easily stopped by P-O keeper Jocelyn Hutton.
“I understand it’s an 80-minute game and that’s a long time to focus, but for us to be a threat at the end of the season we have to put together complete games,” Clearfield head coach Todd Winters said. “We did have some people playing some different positions, just trying stuff out, and we didn’t have (senior defender) Jasmyne (Wilbur) tonight, but she’ll be back for us Wednesday and things will hopefully be different.”
The Lady Mounties were also missing key pieces for the game, actually dressing only 14 from a roster of 24.
“We’ve just been plagued with sicknesses and injuries and it’s kind of hard to make progress whenever you have starters not able to show up because they’re sick,” P-O head coach Tom Petro said. “We’ve been battling that all year.”
Abby Ryan teamed with Smith on Clearfield’s only goal of the first half, springing the speedy Lady Bison into the box with a pinpoint pass from the right. Smith finished to make it 1-0 at 13:22.
But the score remained that way for the rest of the half, and P-O nearly tied it late when Riley Yurky got behind the Clearfield defense and sent a shot to the near post that Lady Bison netminder Hayley Moore needed to make a sliding stop of to keep the hosts off the board.
That was P-O’s only shot on goal of the game and Moore’s lone save.
“We went over stuff about marking (in practice) and it seems like it just disappeared again,” Winters said. “The girls get into that mindset that they see a record and they don’t see the team. That’s the biggest thing I see. We’re not playing a record. P-O wants to win just as bad as we do. And they were only a kick away at halftime from tying it.”
Clearfield came out of the break with a little more spring in their step and started generating better scoring opportunities from the get-go.
Defender Megan Hamm and Hipps (wing) teamed to set up Smith’s second goal, passing the ball back and forth between them to move toward the P-O net before Hipps sent a pass into the box for Smith, who buried it at 46:55 to give Clearfield a 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Bison continued making plays and getting the ball into the box, but were thwarted several times by P-O defender Schenley Farrell, who cleared at least three balls off the line before a Clearfield striker could do any damage.
“Schenley is an excellent defensive player. She’s just a very good player all around,” Petro said. “That’s why she is one of our captains. She’s a great leader. if there is something that needs done, Schenley is always one of the first to step up. She’s a top-notch player and I appreciate everything that she has done for us.”
Clearfield quickly upped its lead from two goals to four when Smith and Hipps scored less than two minutes apart later in the half.
Smith was on the business end of a give-and-go with Ryen to make it 3-0 at 65:58.
Ryen then played the ball into Hipps, who was parked near the 6 and able to beat Hutton with a quick blast at 67:40.
“That was bound to happen,” Petro said. “We held them to one goal in the first half and then I think everybody just started running out of gas in the second half. A lot of girls just returning from being sick or injured and they just gassed out. It happens.”
Clearfield held a 15-1 advantage in shots and had 10 corner kicks, but was not able to convert any into goals.
Hutton made 10 saves for P-O, which also got a save from Paige Rishel, who played the last few minutes of the first half.
Clearfield improved to 6-4 in the Mountain League. P-O slipped to 0-13 overall and 0-10 in league play.
Both teams are back in action Wednesday.
The Lady Bison host Bellefonte, while the Lady Mounties travel to Penns Valley.
1. Elle Smith, C, (Abby Ryan), 13:22.
2. Smith, C, (Emma Hipps), 46:55.
3. Smith, C, (Riley Ryen), 65:58.
4. Hipps, C, (Ryen), 67:40.
Shots: Clearfield 15, Philipsburg-Osceola 1.
Saves: Clearfield (Hayley Moore) 1, Philipsburg-Osceola (Jocelyn Hutton 10, Paige Rishel 1) 11.
Corner kicks: Clearfield 10, Philipsburg-Osceola 1.