Last year, Bermudian Springs broke Fairfield’s four-year stranglehold in the YAIAA-3 division by sharing the crown with the Knights.
The Eagles took a giant step towards having the title all to themselves this season by defeating Fairfield, 1-0, in overtime in the teams’ first meeting of the 2021 campaign on Thursday night at Alumni Field in York Springs.
“They’re an excellent team and I have great respect for them,” Berm girls soccer head coach Jeff Hamon said. “They’re very technically sound, they’re very talented and they play differently than everyone else in the division. Which makes them hard to prepare for.”
The only marker of the match came when Bermudian sophomore Ali Watts broke through on a run after receiving a pass from senior Bailey Oehmig.
Watts, a state champion in the triple jump last spring, took three dribbles and shot near post to the left, beating the dive of Knight keeper Sophia Orndorff for the winner with 2:32 to go.
“Bailey passed the ball to me and I just didn’t want to miss the shot, that’s all I was worried about,” Watts said. “I tried not to bump into the defender, because I didn’t want to lose my balance.”
Hamon said of Watts, “Ali is a great athlete and I’m happy to have her as part of the team. She’s indicative of what our team is. So many teams talk about how many of their girls play club ball, well most of our players play other sports.”
It took 13 minutes before either side registered a shot on goal and that came when Oehmig lined one up but was denied by Orndorff, in what was Berm’s only attempt on the net in the first half at the 26:57 mark.
Fairfield (5-1, 5-1) had three shots on goal in the opening 40 minutes, twice by Breanna Valentine (24:53, 22:34) and once by Emma Dennison (18:21, all of which were snuffed by Berm keeper Peyton Feeser.
In the second half, Watts went at goal twice (35:33, 3:18) and was stonewalled both times.
In between, the Knights had three attempts, one each from Therese Phelan (24:26), Dennison (21:14) and Cadence Holmberg (10:33) with Feeser slamming the door on all of them.
“They put a lot of pressure on you and make it hard for you to mount a counter attack,” Hamon said. “They’ve got a lot of speed, which makes them tough to deal with. But we’ve got speed, too, and I’m not sure they’ve played a team with as much speed as we have. Especially in the back, I think that’s why we were able to keep them from scoring. We didn’t allow them many good looks.”
Berm (7-1, 5-0) had a scoring chance in the extra session prior to Watts’ winner when Emma Patton took a direct kick from 35 yards out. It was on frame, but Orndorff swept it aside with 5:57 to play.
Fairfield had a 6-5 advantage in shots on goal and a 6-0 edge in corners.
“We tied them once and lost to them once last year,” Watts said. “So it’s really exciting to get this win.”
Bermudian returns to the pitch with a home match against York Catholic on Monday at 6:30, while the Knights’ next contest is at home when Delone Catholic comes to town on Tuesday at 6:30.
The teams are slated to meet again on Oct. 14 at Fairfield.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Fairfield 0 0 0 — 0
Bermudian Springs 0 0 1 — 1
Goals: BS-Alison Watts. Assists: BS-Bailey Oehmig. Shots: F-6; BS-5. Corners: F-6; BS-0. Saves: F-Sophia Orndorff (4); BS-Peyton Feeser (6)