Howland’s feeling chipper

Tigers’ lofted shots help in 5-1 win over Harding

Howland girls soccer players celebrate at midfield after scoring a goal during their 5-1 victory over Warren Harding at Mollenkopf Stadium on Monday.

WARREN — Sometimes things are out of reach.

A well-placed chip shot can be the natural enemy of a goalkeeper.

Howland’s girls soccer team found the benefit of a couple of those kicks during their 5-1 victory Monday at Warren G. Harding.

Howland junior Ashley Chambers chipped a free kick from midfield over the charging Harding keeper for the game’s first goal with about 31 minutes before halftime.

“Sometimes they’re good,” Howland coach Dan Daniluk said of his team’s chipped goals. “Sometimes they’re lucky, just so they go in. Tonight, we were able to get some goals. A lot of people stepped up, a lot of different opportunities.

Warren Harding's Kaitlyn Japuncha pushes the ball upfield as Howland's Mackenzie Reakes pursues during their game at Mollenkopf Stadium on Monday night. The Tigers won the game 5-1.

“Good senior leadership kept us going.”

A minute after Chambers’ goal, Harding (2-3-1) countered.

Raiders senior Baylee Brown had a free kick at the 20-yard line and lined up as if she was trying a field goal off the Mollenkopf Stadium field turf. She arced the ball over the Howland line and over the outstretched arms of the Tigers goalkeeper to tie the game at 1-1.

Harding held fast in the next 10 minutes with a couple of saves by keeper Makayla Diggs. She and Isabella Frazzini each had seven saves against Howland (5-1-2).

The Raiders had a couple of scoring opportunities with 19 minutes left as Brown curved a corner kick into Braden Morris, whose header went just over the crossbar. Morris missed a shot wide left about 2 minutes later.

Howland's Alexis Albrecht moves the ball upfield with Warren Harding's Kimberly Shearer in pursuit during the Tigers' 5-1 victory at Mollenkopf Stadium on Monday night.

Harding had its opportunities against a Howland team which had its number in recent years.

Raiders coach Kevin Brown said it was one of the better halves Harding has played against Howland.

“At first, we were doing pretty good containing them on their splits and their through balls,” Brown said. “I thought they were doing a pretty good job. They changed their tactics a little. They started going down the sidelines and going toward the center. They had two chip shots from about 25 yards out.

“If we eliminate those and do a little bit better job containing the center, I think it could’ve been a little bit different outcome. They got those three on us and it was hard to come back from.”

Howland junior Olivia Myers had the first of her two goals as she lobbed a 20-yard kick into the goal with 16 minutes before halftime for a 2-1 lead that held up for the Tigers.

It was a matter of taking advantage of Harding’s defense, something Howland did during Monday’s contest.

“We work possession a lot and try to break through their back line,” Daniluk said. “We were able to break their back line a couple of times. It led to some good goals.”

Howland pressed again and a shot deflected off the WGH goalkeeper. Tigers senior Alexis Albrecht was there and booted the ball to the back of the net for a 3-1 lead with 6 minutes remaining in the half.

Howland freshman Alyssa Pompelia almost made it 4-1 with 24 seconds before intermission, but the ball bounced off the left post. The ball stayed in play and the Tigers moved possession over to the right as Myers chipped a shot from 15 yards out and with 12 seconds remaining for her second goal.

The Tigers added one more as Howland senior Isabella Merlo lobbed one in on a breakaway with 30 minutes remaining for the game’s final goal.

As for Harding, it will look to improve its team in transition. Kevin Brown is in his first year as coach after being the school’s junior varsity mentor.

“As long as you learn something and build toward the postseason, maybe we can have a good run in the postseason,” he said. “As long as you’re learning something every day.”

Unlike some chip shots, that’s not out of reach.