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Wildfire Advance to Finals with Win Over Deep Run Valley

August 15, 2021. 11:00 AM (Hershey, PA) – The Wildire played their 3rd game in the Hershey Cup Tournament against the 1st place team in the other bracket (Deep Run Valley Sports out of Perkasie, PA). With the winner of the game going on to face the Ukrainian Nationals for the championship. 

Blyden drives down the field towards the goal box for a shot.
Blyden drives down the field towards the goal box for a shot.

Similar to game 2, the Wildfire came firing out of the gate in the first minute as Abarbanel passed up to Stone for a shot straight into the hands of the keeper. But the scoreless beginning didn’t last for long as Wagner beat her defender on a subsequent play in the right corner, crossed to Stone who gave it small tap to Abarbanel to send it bouncing off the post and into the net to make it 1-0. 

At the 6′ mark, Murray had a wonderful save in the left corner. And at the 7′ mark, McCutcheon also had a good save from an oncoming DRV shot, but on the kick out the ball was intercepted by DRV 10 feet away and they immediately took another shot which bounced straight off McCutcheon as Belgrave drove the ball out to clear. 

At minute 8′, Hengbuoy had a great long distance shot from almost mid-field which was scooped up by the keeper. And during minute 10′, she was called for a trip in the goal box, giving DRV a PK opportunity. During the kick the ball, sailed over the goal but the ref called it back because of a false start on Wildfire, giving them a second chance. For the second kick however, the ball bounced off the crossbar to the right and Wildfire cleared it. 

Stone intercepting the ball from a DRV Defender.
Stone intercepting the ball from a DRV Defender.

In the 13th minute, Thomas drove down the left side and passed to Frey on the right who took a shot but it rolled out of bounds. DRV held strong for the next 7 minutes. Baker had some good deep balls upfield during this time but the offense couldn’t capitalize on them. 

Finally, at the 21′, Wagner was tripped on an approach resulting in a free kick taken by Abarbanel who launched the ball within partial grasp of the goalie. However it wasn’t enough for the keeper to hang on and it dropped into the net to make it 2-0 at the half.

During the 2nd half, things didn’t fair much better for DRV. Within the first minute, Baker sent the ball deep up to Wagner who crossed the ball from left to right field to send it through the net to make it 3-0. 

McCutcheon preparing during warmups before the game
McCutcheon preparing during warmups before the game

At the 28′, Wagner had two more opportunities to cross it to teammates but wasn’t able to get it back to center. A few minutes later, Frey had another shot on goal which was deflected to establish a corner kick. Hengbuoy’s kick crossed into traffic but DRV was able to clear. 

Up until this point the Wildfire defense had really locked down DRV preventing them from getting many shots, if any, on goal.

At the 33′, the DRV goalie hit 2 straight balls to Abarbanel and Blyden  who immediately shot back into the goal but were blocked. At the 39′, DRV finally got a really good pass from right field into the box but it sailed just wide-right. 

And at 41′, Murray deflected a DRV corner kick and cleared it upfield where Wagner was able to cross to McGinnis to take a shot from center (deflected). 

Santoni chests the oncoming ball before driving it out to clear.
Santoni chests the oncoming ball before driving it out to clear.

At minute 43′ Abarbanel stole the ball from a defender to drive up the right side and send a hard shot straight into the arms of the keeper who was able to keep her hands on it, but not before the wind was knocked out of her and coaches had to come over to ensure she was ok. 

With about 3 minutes left, Baker had a great shot from mid-field which sailed wide-right and with one minute left, DRV got a free kick right outside the goal box. During the shot, the ball bounced off the Wildfire defenders before McCutcheon was able to pounce on top of it to end the game. With the win, the Wildfire advanced to the championship game in a rematch against the Ukrainian Nationals who beat them earlier in the tournament 3-0.