Cumberland Valley came back ‘hungry’ after hard week to win 4-1 against Cedar Cliff

Morgan Smeltz loves to “raise the roof.”

The Cumberland Valley sophomore especially enjoys pumping her arms upward after she scores a goal, so she scored twice Tuesday at West Shore Stadium.

The Eagles (7-3) overcame Cedar Cliff 4-1 (3-7) on September 27. Cedar Cliff and Cumberland Valley are in the Mid-Penn Conference Commonwealth Division in District 3.

Smeltz, who could be heard giving a resounding “woohoo,” was excited that Cumberland Valley returned to business as usual. With 8 minutes remaining in the first, she was standing on post, when senior Caroline Prokop handed her a gift.

“(The ball) just came to the post, and I just barely tipped it,” she said. “It was going out and I just touched it.”

Less than 90 seconds later, the Eagles continued to wake up their sticks.  

Senior Jenna Herbster, whose skills really popped, managed to pass the ball to Courtney Lenderman. Lenderman, on the messy corner play, got the shot off making it 2-0 Cumberland Valley.

As Cumberland Valley’s offense warmed up, so did Cedar Cliff’s defense. The Colts’ Lola Williams remained poised under fire. Williams, who normally plays mid, was on the back line. She was moved to try to help give her injured foot a break. But she still gave a full-time effort.

Williams didn’t give any tells that she had an injury. She was able to thwart Cumberland Valley’s offense nearly one out of every four plays inside the circle.

The Colts’ senior wasn’t the only one injured. Several other Cedar Cliff upperclassmen were either not feeling well or were taking care of injuries. Cumberland Valley was missing its senior energizer Sammi Blocher, who was also sidelined recovering an injury.

The players who were given playing time didn’t waste it. Smeltz, for example, played left mid for the Eagles. But she enthusiastically said she’d play anywhere on the field for her team.

Her second goal came in the third. There were just over 4 minutes on the clock when she created some space inside the circle and tore off a shot. The goal put her at 3 on the season.

“I think we did really good today,” Smeltz said. “We just had two games that were not our best. We just really stepped it up this one. The last two games we lost. We came back angry and hungry.”

Herbster scored the final goal for the Eagles. The University of Massachusetts commit found an opening on the goalie’s left side during a corner scramble in front of the cage.

Normally a defender, Herbster played in the midfield. Her speed, vision, and smart decision-making set her teammates up offensively all four quarters.

Early on in the season, Cumberland Valley was on a fast track to having a perfect record in the Commonwealth Division. That was until they met up with Mifflin County.

The Huskies ousted the Eagles 2-1 on its home grass field. Then along came State College, which won 1-0 in overtime last week. It was a stroke that sealed the deal for the Little Lions. An out-of-conference Saturday matchup with Manheim Twp. also put Cumberland Valley on its heels. The Eagles lost 4-1.

“We played really well today in the first half,” Cumberland Valley head coach Ashley Hooper said. “We worked on a lot of passing and possession at practice. It showed a lot in the first half. I think in the second, we got a little lackadaisical with our passing, but we still found a way to win, which matters. They played aggressive today, which is great. We had a long couple of games. We went into overtime last week against State, and then we had Manheim Twp. on Saturday. So, it was nice to see them up the aggression after a long week.”

The Eagles have resumed scoring. The game against Cedar Cliff is among the team’s top. Cumberland Valley scored 7 versus Chambersburg, 5 versus Central York, and 4 versus Cedar Cliff.

“Obviously, we always have room for improvement,” Hooper said. “Cedar Cliff played a good game today. I think we just were able to pass around them, and that made all the difference.”

A fun fact about the Colts, the team that was on the field in the final minutes of the fourth when Emily Sullivan scored was made up of mostly freshman, Cedar Cliff’s head coach Justin Weaver said. Cedar Cliff had one corner and scored one goal because of it.

“The cool part about us getting that one in is that the field was filled with freshman,” he said. “We have really talented freshmen, who are at times, nervous to play around the older girls. Our older girls, some of them are sick and injured. We wanted to invigorate the offense. You could see that the older girls who were on the field were like, what’s happening. But the whole sequence that led to the goal, it was a bouncy ball. That was a bunch of young players who were hungry for the ball and energetic.”

Weaver met with his team immediately after the game. They sat around talking for about 15 minutes. He said they don’t “dwell” on losses but try to learn from them.

“Cumberland Valley just has incredible female athletes,” he said. “They are strong, fast, disciplined, and skilled. They are a spectacle to watch. A loss to them is respectable. They had their game together today.”

Eagles: 4

  • Goals – Smeltz (2), Herbster (1)
  • Shots – 20
  • Assists – Prokop (1), Herbster (1) 
  • Penalty Corners – 17
  • Saves – Grace Meinke (1)

Colts: 1

  • Goals – Sullivan (1)
  • Shots – 2
  • Assists – 0
  • Penalty Corners – 1
  • Saves – Kelsey Shires (16)
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