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Samantha Gagliano (5) heads for Newark net on Saturday

By John Addyman

   NEWARK (Oct 16 10 ) – Sabrina Macaulay was the key for both teams.
   The Newark junior stopper back was the last line of defense for the Lady Reds, and except for one breakaway moment in the first half, the place where she stood on the field is where the Pal-Mac offensive attack wilted and died.

   Newark and Pal-Mac’s girls’ soccer teams played to a 0-0 knot in the first half, but the Red Raiders exploded for three goals and a 3-0 shutout win in the second half.
   Pal-Mac coach Mike Karns knew that Macaulay was the tipping point – get past her, and his Red Raiders could score.
   “They played us tough the first half,” said Karns. “We made adjustments and halftime, but the big thing is that we got our feet under us in the second half.
   “Our game plan was to their sweeper out of the middle and play the ball diagonally behind her. Out first two goals were just that,” said Karns.
Megan Harding shields Courtney Reuter 
   With 35:20 left in the game, Pal-Mac got the diagonal pass from Leandra Griffith past Macaulay and Samantha Gagliano broke for the net with a Newark defender on her shoulder. Griffith put the pass on Gagliano, who smashed the ball from left to right past goalkeeper Rachel Knapp.
   After a listless first half where both sides struggled to find good opportunities, Newark came out for the second half much more aggressive and got the first two shots off. The Reds looked like a different team than had been on the field in the first half. Macaulay had been so dominant in the first half, anything that got by her was exciting – and there wasn’t much in the first half.
   But now Pal-Mac had scored. And if it worked once, it would work again.
   Five minutes after the first goal, Gagliano was again streaking toward the goal and the diagonal pass came from Leah May this time. Suddenly, a close game was 2-0 with 30:00 left to play.
   Newark would manage six shots for the game to Pal-Mac’s 12.
   The last goal was a pip. On a direct kick with 39 seconds left to play, Pal-Mac’s Griffth stepped in front of goalie Knapp as the incoming ball arrived, and redirected it over Knapp’s head – and into the net. Knapp was still standing there with both arms extended and ready to catch the ball when it had already gone past her and into the net.
Brandi Lauer goes past PM's Hailey Dainard
   Gagliano’s two goals – added to the other five she already scored this week – make her an offensive machine. She’s got the striker’s first step toward the goal and quick feet in the last 20 yards. And she’s a freshman.
   Newark coach Jason Dentel said Pal-Mac had a better mental approach to the game, though his kids were able to temper that a bit with their speed and physical play. “Still, we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities, and that put a little more pressure on us. Pal-Mac is a skilled team.”
   As for Macaulay, Dentel said his star defender is also the trigger on offense. “We want her to win the ball and start our offense,” he said. “In that second half, she came up on defense and we didn’t cover for her. In the first half, she sat back and Pal-Mac couldn’t get the ball by her. In the second half, we came out more aggressively.”
   Pal-Mac is now 6-6-1; Newark is 5-7-1.
   Knapp made five saves for Newark; Brittany Pritchard made one for Pal-Mac.
Newark's Brynn Lauer moves against P-M's Jami Wolverton


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