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Valley Sports Report
WELLSBORO - Senior Hannah Walker scored one goal, and assisted on the other to lead Athens to a 2-0 win over Wellsboro here Monday afternoon in NTL girls soccer action.

With the win, Athens improves to 4-0 in league play, and leads the NTL by 1 game over Wyalusing.

Overall, the Lady Wildcats are 5-4, with losses to Vestal, Fayetteville-Manlius, and New Hartford, as well as a 6-1 loss at Shikellamy Saturday.

Athens coach Rich Pitts said his team's tough non-league slate paid dividends in the win.

"I thought we had good possession, and our build-up was pretty good," he said. "And, I thought our speed of play was better because of the tough games we've been playing.

"We came out today after a tough game Saturday, but the speed of play for us was on, and I thought that showed through for the whole match," added Pitts.

Athens took the lead in the 8th minute when Walker drove toward the end line, and sent a pass into the box, where junior Alli Thoman one-touched it past the Wellsboro keeper.

"We talked about wanting to test (Wellsboro) down the flank a little bit," said Pitts. "And, we switched our formation from what we played them last time. We played a 4-4-2 last time, and today went back to a 4-5-1.

"We got into space, and Hannah (Walker) was able to beat the girl around the corner," added Pitts. "She picked her head up and Alli (Thoman) made a great driving run to it, got her foot on it, and knocked it in. It was a great goal."

With 6:11 remaining in the first half, Walker drove home a free kick from just outside the 18 to make it 2-0.

"That's Walker's third free kick goal," said Pitts. "I would have liked it a little farther to the far post, but it was a good stiff hit. It was a nice goal."

Athens had a 13-4 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.

Pitts paid props to Wellsboro keeper Lilly Abadi, who had 11 saves.

"Last time we played them, we had a lot of good chances, but we weren't clinical enough in front of the net and put balls on the frame," said Pitts. "We talked about it on the bus ride here, that we had to test (Abadi) ... I thought she stood on her head tonight.

"They play good defense in front of her," added Pitts. "They're very courageous and throw their bodies in front of ball so things don't get to her, but when things get to her, she's good. She had a great game tonight."

Athens travels to Towanda tonight.


IN PHOTO 1: Athens senior Hannah Walker. ... PHOTOS COURTESY OF NICK COYLE.

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