By Alex Frazier
Abington opened its Suburban One season Thursday with a dominating 13-1 win over Neshaminy. It was the 26th straight National Conference victory for the Galloping Ghosts.
For junior attackman Joey Jones, he hasn’t lost a league game since starting as a freshman. And he helped to make it happen, scoring three goals and adding three assists.
“We played pretty good,” said Jones, “but we can play a lot better. We’re trying to win all our league games. That would be an accomplishment.”
With four games in five days, Abington coach Randy McNeill wanted to rest his starters as much as possible, so he gave a host of players time.
“This was the first game we were able to get everybody playing time,” said McNeill. “They made good on the opportunity they got.”
The result was that 10 different players accounted for 13 goals.
“We have a variety of players,” said Jones. “If they have a shutdown defender, we can always look to other guys on the team.”
With such a lopsided victory you would think McNeill was happy with his charges. But “not at all,” as he said.
“We have a lot of things to work on, offensively, defensively, communication,” he said.
And not much time to do it.
The Ghosts take on Wood Friday, No. 1-ranked Conestoga Monday and Truman on Tuesday.
“Our schedule is busy and we have to work on a lot of things,” said McNeill.
One of those “things” is turnovers. The Ghosts coughed up the ball 19 times.
“Unforced turnovers are killing us,” said McNeill. “They’re killing us. Not throwing, not catching, being lazy.”
Neshaminy coach Josh Hanlon also has some work cut out for him.
“At times we played good defense and then we give up second and third opportunities,” he said. “We play good initial defense, and then we get the ball and turn it over and give them more opportunities. It’s hard to score goals when you’re playing defense the whole game.”
The first quarter was no indication of the final result. Even though Abington controlled much of the play, the Ghosts had just two goals to show for their effort. Dan Lomady dodged from the left flank and hit the next for the first tally at 8:48. Greg Hill scored what would turn out to be the gamewinner at the 7:43 mark when he took a pass from Ryan Ambler on the crease and beat Neshaminy goalie Eugene LaBorde.
The Redskins cut the lead to one with just five seconds on the clock when Alex Forman passed to Chris Brady on the right wing. Brady underhanded a shot past Jon Cairone to make it 2-1.
But Abington turned it up in the second quarter, scoring five goals on nine shots to end the drama.
With a 7-1 lead at the half, neither team showed a lot of intensity in the second half, although the Redskins had their best quarter in the third, outshooting Abington, 9-7. However, accuracy was an issue as Abington hit the net three times and Neshaminy didn’t have a single shot on goal.
“It’s a lot of fundamental stuff,” said Hanlon.
“Our defense did a good job knocking down some shots. Knocking down some passes, and our help defense was there with the second slide and the third slide,” said McNeill. “They did a good job playing inside out.”
The win raises Abington’s record to 2-1, 1-0 SOL, while Neshaminy drops to 2-3 overall and 0-1 SOL.
“It’s a combination of small mistakes at this point that lead to goals,” said Hanlon. “We have the talent. We have the athletic ability. It’s just a matter of putting that together for a full 48 minutes.”
The Redskins return to league action next Tuesday against Council Rock South.
“We’ll definitely look to rebound in the league,” said Hanlon. “This is a learning tool. We didn’t want to start out 0-1, but it happened and we’ll come back from it. We didn’t perform the way we were capable of.”
Abington 13, Neshaminy 1
Abington 2 5 3 3—13
Neshaminy 1 0 0 0—1
Goals: Neshaminy: Chris Brady (1G), Alex Forman (1A)
Abington: Dan Lomady (1G, 1A), Greg Hill (1G), Andrew Charles (1G), Ryan Ambler (2G, 1A), Rich Rambo (1G), Jeff Tepel (1G), Matt Lomady (1G), Joey Jones (3G, 3A), Matt Figueroa (1G), Matt Elsenbeck (1G) Anthony Hensley (2A)
Shots: Abington 29, Neshaminy 18
Saves: Jon Cairone (A) 2, Eugene LaBorde (N) 2
Faceoffs: Abington 12, Neshaminy 5
Turnovers: Abington 19, Neshaminy 13
Penalties: Abington 7, Neshaminy 6