Oct. 26—SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — Northern Lehigh was fast.
Too fast, as it turned out.
The Bulldogs, the No. 4 seed in the District 11 Class A girls’ soccer playoffs, used that speed to their advantage in scoring a 5-0 shutout over No. 3 seed Minersville on Tuesday evening at Schuylkill Haven’s Rotary Field.
Minersville’s (12-6) season comes to an end. Northern Lehigh (11-9) advances to Thursday’s semifinal against top-seeded Pine Grove, a 1-0 winner over Palisades.
“I’m proud of them,” said Minersville coach Nate Parent of his team. “We’re a very small school. We only have 19 on the roster. Throughout the season I told them that we need to go out and compete and we did that.”
The Bulldogs weren’t just fast on the field, they were fast on the scoreboard.
Katelynn Barthold, only a sophomore, put two in the back of the net inside the first 17 minutes of the game and finished with a hat trick, scoring her third inside the final two minutes of the first half.
Add that to Caitlin Kirk’s unassisted goal in the 33rd minute and the Bulldogs had things under control with a 4-0 lead at the halftime break.
Northern Lehigh’s Victoria Hanna put another first-half shot in the back of the net, but the apparent goal was disallowed for an off-sides violation.
“We knew that 3 (Barthold) up top was going to be fast, and we also scouted 13 (Nicole Zarayko, who missed the game with an injury),” Parent said. “Coming into the game we knew that.
“They were just faster than us. We tried to make adjustments throughout the game, but 3 and 24 (Victoria Hanna) up top were just too fast.”
Northern Lehigh scored on the game’s first two shots on goal. The Bulldogs scored on three of their first four, and four of their first five shots.
“Tonight, honestly, our speed had a chance to kind of show up,” Northern Lehigh coach Justin Reinhard said. “We kind of unlocked it tonight.
“We found a way to get our speed up and use it. Our three up top kind of found the rhythm they’ve been missing for the last two weeks.”
And, while the Bulldogs found that rhythm, the Battlin’ Miners struggled to do the same.
Minersville didn’t put a shot on goal in the first half. The Miners got their first ball in on Bulldogs’ keeper Dekotah Barthold in the game’s 42nd minute and finished with only four.
Katelynn Barthold’s hat trick gave her 41 goals for her young career, including 24 this season.
“She’s a legit track star,” Reinhard said. “She has, in two years now, 41 goals.
“She can be a huge difference-maker. She scored three tonight, that’s 24 for her this year.”
Even with the final score, Reinhard said he was taking nothing for granted coming into the game.
“Minersville’s always tough,” Reinhard said. “I knew we were going to be in for a fight.
“To get this was big.”
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