LEWISTOWN - Mifflin County got its second look at Commonwealth Division second-place team Central Dauphin Thursday, and although the score was better than the teams' previous 5-0 meeting, the Huskies again took a loss when the Rams edged them, 3-1.
The outcome was a matter of intensity and difference in skill level. The Huskies had their chances to make it a game, but too many moments of tentative play prevented them from mounting any real threats against the more experienced Rams.
"I think we had spurts of intensity; I don't think we had a whole game of being intense like we needed to," Mifflin County coach Tish Maclay said. "When you're playing one of the top teams in the division, you have to have 60 hard minutes, and I don't think we had 60 hard minutes - I think we had maybe 40 hard minutes."
Mifflin County definitely put forth one of its more impressive moments of intensity to open the game when the Huskies pressed Central Dauphin's defense hard leading up to an unassisted goal by Abby Minck just five minutes into the game.
It was a scrum in front of the Rams' cage as the Huskies packed in to try to get the goal, and amid the flying sticks and dust coming up from the dry field, Minck got in position in front of the goal to put the shot away.
But with the 1-0 lead, if Mifflin County was outshooting Central Dauphin in those first five minutes, the Rams were soon to show how efficient they could be when about eight minutes later Abby Zeigler took a feed from Gabby Feaser to score on what was the team's first shot of the game.
And from there, the rest of the game was Central Dauphin's in terms of scoring as Jessie Beard came in to collect the final two goals of the contest.
With 19:11 to go in the second half, Beard scored her first goal to tip the score in the Rams' favor when she took a pass off the baseline from Sami Goehrig to make it 2-1. Beard then struck again with 16:30 left to play when she took advantage of a packed box in front of the cage to notch the final goal of the game.
"I think we played a better offensive game today, but we're still not where we need to be," Maclay said, as her team did collect five shots on goal and a handful of penalty corners, but it didn't result in many significant threats against the Rams.
"I thought that we were able to move the ball a lot more effectively offensively, and I think we worked together a little bit better today. Like I said, still not where we need to be, but I think they made some nice adjustments to play against (Central Dauphin) today," Maclay continued.
Throughout the game the Huskies had ebbs and flows in their intensity, and many times they missed chances to create an opportunity when failure to aggressively play to the whistle gave the Rams possession of the ball.
"I think we stopped stepping to the ball there a little bit in the second half, and against a team like Central Dauphin they're going to take advantage of it," Maclay said.
A notable bright moment for the Huskies was late in the first half, when goalie Jordan Myers rushed out of the goal to break up a two-on-one play by the Rams to maintain the 1-1 score headed into the half.
"She made a nice play on that ball, and you would expect that from a senior goal keeper," Maclay said.
The Huskies (6-8-1, 5-6-1) have three games remaining in the regular season, including Tuesday's home game against non-conference opponent East Juniata before the remaining two conference games.