John Bruce, Contributor
WILLIAMSPORT — The Westfall Mustangs hosted Division III’s 11th ranked North Adams on Wednesday night and went toe-to-toe with the undefeated Green Devils.
The Green Devils (11-0-1) are powered by a high-scoring offense, mostly behind junior forward Karissa Buttelwerth, and an outstanding defense. For nearly 60 minutes, the Mustangs’ backline was able to control and contain the outstanding junior. However, over the last 20 minutes, Buttelwerth found the back of the net twice to lead North Adams to a 2-0 road victory.
Within the first 15 minutes, each team had outstanding looks at the goal. Buttelwerth had a point-blank shot that Mustang goalkeeper Marcy Dudgeon was able to parry away and on the other end, Chloe Tanler found some room and ripped a rocket from the left side of the box, but it was deflected off the crossbar and away from danger by the Green Devils’ Alaina Eiterman.
The Mustangs’ defense, led by Lyndsey Yates, did a fantastic job on Buttelwerth for the first half, holding her to mostly contested looks from outside of the box. When there was a solid look, Dudgeon was there to maintain the shutout. The best look of the half actually came from a direct kick from Braylie Jones that Dudgeon had to dive to her right to deflect it wide.
On the other end, Westfall’s Madalynn Yates sent a rocket on a direct kick from 30 yards out that Eiterman had to push over the top of the goal to keep the game scoreless after 40 minutes of play.
Tanler and Madalynn Yates put pressure on the Green Devils’ backline for parts of the second half, but for the most part, it was North Adams on the attack.
Finally, with 20:08 remaining in the game, Buttelwerth outran the Mustangs’ defense and had a one-on-one with Dudgeon. Dudgeon was able to make another spectacular save, but the ball bounced back to Buttelwerth and she finished on the rebound.
Less than three minutes later, the Mustangs were whistled for a foul inside the goal box, which gave the Green Devils a chance from the penalty spot.
Eiterman was the player tasked with taking the kick in a rare goalkeeper versus goalkeeper situation. Dudgeon, like she had done the majority of the night, knocked down the shot and corralled it to keep the Mustangs in the game.
Minutes later, in a massive momentum swing, the Mustangs missed an open net from just outside the box and almost immediately following, Buttelwerth put the game on ice. The junior scored her 70th career goal on a left-footed shot off a loose ball inside the box, making the score 2-0, which would be the final.
Even in a losing effort, the Mustangs showed they could compete with an elite team in the Southeast District. Westfall was also without junior striker Mahaley Farmer, taking away a lot of its scoring punch.
While Buttelwerth was outstanding and the star of the game for the Green Devils, Dudgeon was even better for the Mustangs. She kept her team in the game with multiple highlight reel saves throughout the second half.
Westfall (9-4) will be off until Monday when they take on the Southeastern Panthers in Londonderry.