Oct. 12-13, 2019 -- The Charge put on a good showing with a second-place finish at the Western Lehigh United 25th Annual Four Game Fall Fest tournament in Allentown. In what was a stalwart defensive effort all weekend, the Charge allowed only two goals in four games.
In their first game on Saturday, the Charge battled Penn Fusion Lehigh Valley to a scoreless tie. They controlled play for most of the game but were unable to find the back of the net. The defense, led by Tessa, played a starring role, holding Penn Fusion Lehigh Valley to only one shot on goal and keeping things relatively stress-free for Jessa and Penny in net. For its part, the offense applied plenty of pressure, with Grace getting multiple shots in both halves, set up by passes from Riley on more than one occasion. In the second half, Jessa cleared the ball ahead to Cailyn, who sent a pass up to Ava. Ava outran the defense and hit a shot just wide left. Later, Brooke crossed to Jessa for another good chance, but Jessa's shot went wide right.
The scoreless streak continued into the second game, as the Charge were tied with Keystone Athletic 0-0 at halftime. Riley played well in goal for the Charge, making four saves, including one play where she came out to challenge a breakaway and beat the attacker to the ball. Brooke had the best chance of the half, when she raced past the defense and put a strong shot on net that required a diving save by the keeper. By the second half, the Charge had tired of seeing zeroes on the board. Shortly after halftime, Jessa drove into the offensive zone and centered back to Brooke, who buried the shot for a 1-0 lead. A long clear by Brooke to Sophia for a shot nearly gave the Charge another goal just minutes later. The Charge made it 2-0 when Violet battled through two defenders to take the ball into the box, where she found Riley just outside the 6. Riley hit a low shot to the far post that beat the keeper.
On Sunday morning, the Charge faced off against Floral Park and played to a 1-1 tie. Floral Park scored at the 5-minute mark to take the early lead. Shots by Jessa and Sam were the Charge's best offensive chances in what was a very even first half. The Charge turned up the attack in the second half. After Sophia made a nice save in goal with a lot of traffic in the box, Brooke played the ball ahead to herself, sprinted to the ball at the 18 and nailed a shot off the far post. Sophia made two more saves, including a diving stop to keep the Charge in the game. Then, the Charge began to impose their will with a sustained attack that included several corner kicks and steals off goal kicks. The Charge had Floral Park on the ropes, and it was just a matter of time until they finally solved the defense. That came in the 38th minute, when Brooke stole the ball off a goal kick and hit a shot at a tough angle past the keeper to tie the game. Brooke and Jessa had several other chances later in the half but the Charge just couldn't get the game-winner.
With an undefeated record of one win and two ties, the Charge earned a place (via tiebreaker) in the championship game against Penn Fusion United. It was a thrilling, back-and-forth championship match that was -- you guessed it -- scoreless until the last minute of play. That's even more impressive considering Penn Fusion United had scored 11 goals in its previous three games. In the first half, Penny made two early saves for the Charge, and then Riley worked the ball out to Jessa, who passed to Bryce up the right flank. That pressure earned the Charge a corner kick, which Bryce gathered and passed to Jessa, whose left-footed shot went just wide. A few minutes later, Brooke fought hard to win ball at midfield and passed to Grace, who dribbled on goal and sent a hard shot wide left. The Charge continued to attack, as Tessa sent a good cross that nearly connected with Ava for an open look in front of the net. Meanwhile, Penny kept Penn Fusion United off the board with a big save at the end of the half, coming out to the top of the 18 to challenge a breakaway. Penn Fusion United controlled play early in the second half. They nearly scored off the opening tap, when they went straight down the field and hit the post with a shot. The Charge stood tall and eventually went on the counterattack. They had a great opportunity at the 43-minute mark, when Grace played the ball from the top of the box wide to Jessa. She found Sophia open right in front of the goal, but the play was ruled offsides. For the next few minutes, Grace, Jessa and Sophia worked hard to create chances, with Tessa stepping up from D to keep the ball in the offensive zone. Unfortunately for the Charge, Penn Fusion got a breakaway in the last minute of play and snuck in a goal to earn the win.
The silver medal finish marked the second consecutive year the Charge brought home hardware from the Fall Fest tournament. They return to Central League action this Saturday 10/19 against Boyertown.