Sophomore striker Sydney Gallop scored both goals as the Hermon High School girls soccer team stayed undefeated with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over a hardworking John Bapst team Tuesday in their Class B North contest at the University of Maine in Orono.
But she will have to share the spotlight with teammate Megan Tracy. The sophomore goalie preserved the win by saving Gillian Skehan’s penalty kick and smothering a rebound attempt during a wild scramble following the penalty kick midway through the second half.
Hermon improved to 9-0, while the upstart Crusaders fell to 7-4 while having their six-game winning streak snapped.
Gallop, who registered 26 goals and 18 assists en route to all-conference honors as a freshman a year ago, scored her 16th goal of the season just 6:26 into the game. Shen then broke a 1-1 tie seven minutes after John Bapst’s Casey Britt had notched the equalizer just 21 seconds into the second half.
Gallop’s game-winner came off an Allyson Coxson corner that glanced off Hermon striker Lyndsee Reed’s torso.
“It hit my thigh, and I turned and fired,” said Gallop, who rifled a left-footed shot from eight yards out into the corner to the right of John Bapst goalie Jayda Smith.
The Crusaders were awarded a penalty kick with 23:18 remaining, but Tracy thwarted Skehan with her right leg before scrambling over to get her body on the rebound as several Crusaders attacked the net.
“I was kind of nervous but [senior midfielder] Grace Page told me to just stay focused, and I really focused after I got that motivation from her,” the 6-foot Tracy said. “I was on my toes and ready for it, and [Skehan] kind of turned her foot like she was going to that side.
“Everyone thinks it’s over after you save the penalty kick. It’s not,” Tracy said. “They came crashing in and [the second shot] hit my body before I covered it.”
Skehan explained that goalies will sometimes stand a little off center to try to entice the penalty taker to shoot toward the side with more net available and that’s where the goalie dives.
“That’s what she did, so I didn’t want to put it there. But she ended up staying put,” Skehan said.
Gallop opened the scoring when she scampered down the left side onto a through-ball by Page. She took a few touches and hit a low, 16-yarder that slipped through the hands of Smith and trickled over the goal line.
But Smith atoned with four saves for the remainder of the half to keep her team within one.
Britt stunned the Hawks seconds after the second-half kickoff when she ran on to a nice pass from Kate Harriman, took a few dribbles and calmly slotted the ball into the far corner past Tracy.
Hermon attempted 44 shots to John Bapst’s 15 but the gritty Crusaders blocked 10 of them by swarming the ball. Smith made eight saves and the Hawks missed the net 22 times.
Tracy finished with seven saves.
Gallop hit the crossbar twice.
Hermon coach M.J. Ball was happy to get the win but not pleased with his team’s performance.
“We were sloppy, but we did enough to get the job done,” Ball said. “We had plenty of chances. We have to put them away. We also rushed some shots.”
First-year John Bapst coach Steve Lammert, whose Crusaders lost to Hermon 6-2 on Sept. 16, said he was pleased with his team’s showing.
“We did a great job. We’ve been playing a lot better. We were ready for Hermon today,” Lammert said.
Center back Madison Higgins and midfielders Emily Treat and Page stood out for Hermon, while John Bapst received stellar performances from striker Harriman, midfielder Skehan, and backs Natalie Pepin and Lacey Scanlon.