PLAINS TWP. – It's no surprise to the Wyoming Valley Conference that Ashley Dunbar shouldn't be given an open field.
As the league is well aware by now, that's easier said than done.
Dunbar tallied five goals to propel Dallas to a 5-1 victory over rival Coughlin Thursday in Wyoming Valley Conference girls soccer at Solomon/Plains School.
"Her speed and quickness are unmatched and very hard for defenses to keep up with her – even if she's double teamed," Dallas coach Abe Lewis said. "She's really stepping up for us this year."
The senior forward showed her playmaking abilities in the first half. Dunbar beat Coughlin goalkeeper Jasmine Barreto on a long pass and found a hole between two defenders' legs to score the Crusaders first goal at the 13th minute.
Later in the half, Dunbar maneuvered around defenders and caught the post on a shot. After a quick Ruby Mattson shot off a rebound, Dunbar crashed the middle and collected the ball off Barreto to put the Mountaineers up by a 2-0 score.
"She really stepped up her game from last year," Lewis said. "She's really a better ball-handler, I guess you could say. She is more skillful with her feet instead of just speed. So now she has the other option to her game with speed and technique."
Dallas defender Talia Szatkowski bailed the Mountaineers several times. In the opening minutes, Szatkowski caught up to Coughlin's Megan Lercara on a breakaway to prevent the first goal of the game. In the second half, Szatkowski stymied another Lercara breakaway chance.
"I think Coughlin played an excellent game," Lewis said. "They played tough and physical like we know they always can. I credit Talia for keeping everything organized in the back. She organizes the back, and Ashley Dunbar takes care of the front."
After Coughlin' Hailee Dumont outmaneuvered Szatkowski to end the first half at a 2-1 deficit, the Crusaders opened the second with the control of the ball but twice came inches away from an equalizer.
Crusader midfielder Nora Fazzi opened the half with a beautiful shot from the edge of the right-side box that careened off the left post. Minutes later, freshman Emma Sukowski found the post when she redirected a pass from Fazzi.
"If we produced our goals like we should have, it would have been a completely different game because they would have had to play a different style of game," Coughlin coach Joe Spagnuolo said. "So Ashley Dunbar or no one else beat us, we beat ourselves.
"We don't focus on one player or obviously she wouldn't have scored so many goals. And we're not going to."
First half: 1. DAL, Ashley Dunbar, 13th minute; 2. DAL, Dunbar (Ruby Mattson), 31th minute; 3. COU, Hailee Dumont, 35th minute
Second half: 1. DAL, Dunbar, 55th minute; 2. DAL, Dunar, 57th minute; 3. DAL, Dunbar 62th minute
Shots: DAL 14, COU 9; Saves: DAL 4 (Sydney Emershaw, Abrianna Tolomello), COU 6 (Jasmine Barreto); Corners: DAL 6, COU 8
Hanover Area started slow but wore down Meyers over the second half, scoring three times to put the game out of reach.
Four different Hawkeyes scored and Sam Masher added the game's lone assist.
First half: 1. HA Mallory Ellis 22nd minute.
Second half: 1. HA Kayla Keating (Sam Masher) 51st minute; 2. HA Larissa Bannon PK 68th minute; 3. HA Hallie Shuman 73rd minute.
Shots: MEY 4, HA 20; Saves: MEY 14 (Leah Merrick), HA 4 (Ciera Gensel); Corners: MEY 0, HA 3.
Allie Barber found the back of the net four times and assisted on another as Pittston Area rolled past Wyoming Seminary.
Nikki Wert scored for the Blue Knights.
First half: 1. PA Allie Barber, 15th minute; 2. PA Barber 25th minute; 3. PA Liz Waleski 30th minute; 4. PA Madison Mimnaugh 38th minute;5. PA Mimnaugh (Barber) 44th minute.
Second half: 1. PA Barber (Madison Cardinale), 51st minute; 2. PA Barber (Carly Filipski) 53rd minute; 3. WS Nikki Wert (Lindsay Warriner), 64th minute; 4. PA Samantha Meyers 89th minute.
Shots: PA 15, WS 4; Saves: Not Reported; Corners: PA 7, WS 3.
Holy Redeemer scored in the game-winning goal in the first overtime, outlasting Lake-Lehman.
First half: 1. HR, Lawson (Maganello), 35:48; 2. L, Spencer.
Second half: 3. L, Hatsko, 10:30; 4. HR, Lawson (Schramm), 0:59.
First Overtime: 5. HR, Lawson (Phillips).
Shots: L 14, H 10; Saves: L 2 (Jenkins); HR 12 (Tomasura); Corners: L 11, HR 5.
Karleigh Hartman netted four goals to lift Berwick past MMI in a game called because of lightning.
First half: 1. B, Karleigh Hartman (Carly Montecarlo), 39:20; 2. B, Hartman (Caty Davenport), 36:38; 3. B, Kelly Sheptock (Davenport), 34:40; 4. B, Davenport (Montecarlo), 33:54; 5. B, Olivia Conklin (Davenport), 33:04; 6. Hartman (Brianna Floryshak), 31:04; 7. Davenport, 28:15; 8. Conklin (Floryshak), 24:27; 9. Hartman, 10:53; 10. Gabby Kishbaugh (Davenport), 6:37
Shots: Berwick 42, MMI 0; Saves: B 0 (Allison Rineheimer); M 11 (Alexandra Van Hoekelen); Corners: B 8, M 0.