Millersville’s senior leadership outlasts Bloomsburg 4-2 as the Marauders continue its undefeated streak

Bloomsburg refused to go down without a fight.

However, the Huskies’ commanding second half couldn’t catch up to the damage that Millersville had already done in the first.

The Marauders continued its undefeated winning streak Friday, Sept. 30 at Chryst Field at Biemesderfer Stadium beating Bloomsburg 4-2. Millersville is 7-0 and 1-0 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Bloomsburg is 5-4 overall, and 0-1 in PSAC.

“I mean, I think tonight, especially, our first conference game of the season, was such a great showcase of what we’ve been working on all season,” said fifth year Millersville midfielder Georgia Werkiser. “We had a great first half. I think the second half we were a little slow, but we were able to bounce back off of each other. We had a great recovery.”  

Werkiser was instrumental in helping her team gain a two-goal edge with one assist and her first goal of the season in the first half. Later in the third, she assisted again.

The first goal of the game was a ripped shot from the top by Werkiser on a corner. Bri Harsh, a Penn Manor grad, maneuvered herself in front of the cage where she tipped it in. Werkiser’s score happened late in the first. Pili Zaballa (junior, Junin, Argentina) collected a loose ball off the goalie and passed behind her to Werkiser, who was there for the rebound shot and goal.

The Huskies regrouped during the halftime break, though.

Proving they wanted to be in the game, senior Bri Doebler, a Mifflinburg Area grad, punched one in after 40 seconds elapsed at the start of the third. The score was 2-1, and then it quickly became 3-2 after Bloomsburg and Millersville both capitalized on corners.

It was a close contest until the fourth quarter, when Katie Stickland, a Dock Mennonite grad, and Quhayiya Nogoduka (junior, Port Elizabeth, South Africa), closed the deal with a fancy run down the right side.

Nogoduka, with speed, brought the ball to the circle’s edge. Strickland was one pass away with her stick down. Nogoduka eliminated two defenders and then released a quick pass to Strickland who scored her 10th goal of the season.

The difference between the two teams comes down to one word: experience.

The Marauders are a senior-heavy team that has been tested. Bloomsburg isn’t, but it can now say the team’s encountered a good challenge.

“I think just with experience, like looking up and seeing the space, I think the defense didn’t really know what to do,” Werkiser said. “I just kept pushing on to see what they would give me.”

Her thoughts about her second assist, the team’s third goal of the game: “We worked on that corner all season. It was just a slip to the left, then my teammate came in and was able to put it away.

“All of the things we did tonight were just the things we’ve been working on and we’ve been putting together toward execution. I think tonight was just that we had each others’ backs always. We utilized each other and we really loved connectivity. It was amazing for us to put four goals in.”

Millersville stayed within its structure, said Head Coach Shelly Behrens.

“There’s some things that we train and practice that we don’t always do,” she said. “We go into a game, they always think, ‘oh hey, I think I’m gonna do this. I can go there.’ And, you know, I really credit the whole team ‘cause tonight they stayed within our structure. There was just good consistency, speed, and flow to our attack that actually, I think, got better as the night went on.”

Behrens said she doesn’t even care that the team’s 7-0. She said she’s more concerned about improving her players’ defensive skills over all the field.

“There’s a time when we want that energy,” she said. “I was really proud of them, but not defensively great all around the field. And I’m not saying that we gave up two goals, I’m OK with that. But let’s keep on building. We’re game seven into the season. I love where we are, and I love where we’re headed.”

Then there’s the what-ifs, Bloomsburg Head Coach Nikki Hartranft said.

“If I was disappointed about anything, it was the fact that we played timid in the first half,” she said. “Then in the second half, we were like, ‘oh, this is what the conference is like.”

She said she hopes her players learn from a “fantastic” Millersville squad.

“They’re a little bit more senior-laden than we are,” she said. “So, we’re pretty young. But I think we have the potential to compete the entire game.”

Take away the first half, and Bloomsburg would have been looking at a 2-2 tie.

“I told them at halftime, you can either sit back and watch it or you can go out and compete,” Hartranft said. “You love to compete. This is the time to do it. We gave them two goals in the first quarter. We just sat back and were like, ‘what’s happening?’ And it’s nothing that I said, I give the ladies all the credit in the world. They were the ones who said let’s step it up and play.”

Marauders: 4

  • Goals – Stickland (2), Werkiser (1), Harsh (1)
  • Assists – Werkiser (1), Zaballa (1), Nogoduka (1)
  • Shots – 10
  • Penalty corners – 6
  • Saves – Kerstin Koons (3)

Huskies: 2

  • Goals – Doebler (1), Aydan McFarland (1)
  • Assists – Sam Schaffer (1)
  • Shots – 6
  • Penalty corners – 8
  • Saves – Abby Shaffer (5)
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