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Tigers take care of WGH

HOWLAND — The lights stayed on this time.

A little over a year ago, the Howland Tigers and the Warren G. Harding Raiders met in a Division I second-round sectional match, and with 10:12 left, half the lights went out and play wasn’t resumed until the next day.

Flash forward to Monday, about the only obstacles either team faced was the constant rain that was a presence throughout much of the first half.

Howland did enough again as they got past the Raiders, 3-0, in the first round matchup.

Also like last year, the Tigers lived on the Raider side of the field and ran their offensive sets, but this time around Howland (9-6-2) scored two minutes and 28 seconds into the game when Malina Andamasaris got it past Harding goalkeeper Emily Trisler on an assist from Rylie Daniluk.

Though as Howland coach Greg Mitchell put it, he thought his team was slow in the first half, as it got five more shots on goal, but couldn’t expand on its lead going into the half up 1-0.

“Credit Warren G. Harding for staying compact and getting bodies in front of the goal,” Mitchell said. “It made it tough to get shots at close range. We were just slow today. Movement wasn’t quite there. I think we just played at that pace. At the end of the day, I think sometimes when we don’t have our best game but we can still come out with a win, we’ll take it at this juncture.”

Trisler was key in that first half with a great save at the 14:41 mark to keep it 1-0.

“They’re excellent from distance,” Harding coach Kevin Brown said. “Our defense was holding back to protect our keeper a little bit so that opened up their shots from distance. She made some really terrific saves. The first half, three minutes in when they get that goal and against a team like this, it’s hard to come back on them. We were kind of on our heels for the rest of the game.”

Harding (1-16-0) struggled to generate much in the way of offense with just one shot on goal for the game as they were without the services of Madelynn Zuccaro, Destinee Toth, and Rosie Wargo.

Those injuries forced Brown to move his best scorer to defense to shore up that side of the ball.

“I thought we were playing well,” he said. “It’s just hard for us to generate offense. We still have some key injuries. Madelynn is out with a concussion. She might have been cleared if we played Wednesday. She’s a key to our offense. With players like that out, it’s hard to generate offense. I have my best scorer, Madyson Brown, playing defense over the last four games because of another injury. It just happens.”

For Howland, they again struck fast to start off the second half as Ashleigh Macias’ goal with 34:39 left gave the Tigers that extra goal to provide some comfort as they had 14 shots on goal, but Trisler kept them at bay most of the night.

“I think sometimes in games like this, you’ve played a team twice already and you beat them 5-0 both times, it’s hard I think to get up for a game like that,” Mitchell said. “The other team comes in with a little more urgency to not want to give up goals. I think in that regard, it made the game tough to get up for in terms of bringing a better sense of urgency from the get go.

“It just showed throughout the game. I don’t want to say I’m disappointed from that standpoint, but at least the girls came out and got a ‘W.’ You would have liked them to show something better though.”

Andamasaris added her second goal with 3:41 left to close out the scoring that was tough to come by all night for the Tigers.

For Mitchell, who took over this team in July, when Howland decided to not bring back Dan Daniluk, he’s curious moving forward which team of his is going to show up when the Tigers play the Hudson Explorers on Thursday.

“We are going to face a much tougher challenge on Thursday,” he said. “We’ve risen to the occasion when we’ve played better teams. Even though we were coming off of a loss on Saturday to Kenston. It was a much better team and I thought the girls played really well despite the loss. I think that is more the reason for how I feel about this game after seeing how they played on Saturday. I think if they can bring what they brought Saturday to Thursday, I think we’ll compete well and give ourselves a shot at the end of the day.”

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