Girls’ Soccer Team Falls to Altoona on Senior Night

State High Girls Soccer seniors posing before the game. (Front: Cathy Cropp, Olivia Nelson, Anna Razzano, Hannah Langer; Back: Gabi Todd, Megan Maher, Tori Kroboth, Keira Drohan)
State High Girls’ Soccer seniors posing before the game. (Front: Cathy Cropp, Olivia Nelson, Anna Razzano, Hannah Langer; Back: Gabi Todd, Megan Maher, Tori Kroboth, Keira Drohan)
Jacob Will

On a special night for seven seniors, the girls soccer team put together one of their best performances of the season. The team lost to Altoona 2-0, but the game remained scoreless through the first half, and Megan Maher continuously made saves to give the offense chances to take over.

Star center back Hannah Langer, whose season was ended by a torn ACL, began the game with a ceremonial kickoff after being honored with her fellow seniors. Langer, a four-year varsity player, was mentioned by younger players as a leader of the team and someone they will miss next season.

Sophomore Leila Crandall said, “I’ll especially miss Hannah Langer, she’s one of my best friends, and I love her very dearly.”

The game didn’t go quite as well for the Little Lions as the senior night festivities. Altoona controlled the possession early with six shots in the first ten minutes. Maher held strong in goal though, and the score remained 0-0.

In front of her own personal cheering section, Maher was the key for State College in keeping this game competitive. Head coach Trevor Loehr said about his senior goalkeeper, “She’s always been solid in the back for us there, really keeps us in a lot of games. Even though she had to come out [tonight], she got some treatment and still finished strong for us.”

Crandall came on as the first sub for State College with 22 minutes to play in the first half, and to the surprise of everyone in attendance, Maher came out and into the goal went sophomore Maya Birkenholtz. While the training staff went to work on Maher on the sidelines, State High got their first real scoring chance with 19:22 left in the first half.

Freshman Ayda Bayly got behind the Altoona defense with the ball and fired a strike that was saved by Altoona goalie Aubrey Dietzel. The flash of attack injected some energy into the Little Lions and they managed to keep their young goalie out of much trouble until halftime came around with the score still tied 0-0.

Megan Maher came back out for the start of the second half, and just in time, because immediately after the kickoff Altoona was pushing into State High’s half. The State High defense cleared an Altoona corner, then Maher came up huge with two saves, but eventually Altoona stopped pounding on the door and let themselves in.

With 34:44 to play, Altoona’s Sophia O’Dea finally broke through and scored the first goal of the game. It was only a matter of time before the Mountain Lions took the lead and it didn’t stop there.

State College kept the ball near the middle of the field for a few minutes, but never really maintained possession long enough to build an attack before Altoona seized another opportunity.

The Mountain Lions strung a possession together from midfield, and Hailey Kravetz converted off an assist from Lia Sankey to make the score 2-0. With 27:25 on the clock, there was still time for State College, especially if a senior could come up with some magic, but nothing materialized.

For the last seven minutes of the game, State High had the chances, including two corner kicks, but Altoona’s Dietzel held strong in goal to complete the clean sheet.

Even with the loss, the focus was on a farewell to a group of seven senior seniors that the team will be sorry to see go. Loehr said about the class, “It’s an example of players that go above and beyond what is asked of them. This is a difficult league that we play in, a lot of games that we have to play close together and every night they come out and give everything they have, and I couldn’t be prouder of them for that.”

State High’s seniors are Keira Drohan, Tori Kroboth, Hannah Langer, Megan Maher, Olivia Nelson, Anna Razzano and Gabi Todd. The Little Lions are back at the North Turf for the last time this season on Oct. 16 when they take on Cumberland Valley.

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