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Rochester blanks Berkley to climb atop OAA White standings WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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BERKLEY – The Berkley Bears and Rochester Falcons entered their Thursday evening girls soccer contest separated by just one point at the top of the ultra-tight OAA White standings. Ultimately, it was the Falcons who emerged with a 1-0 victory to climb atop the division.

The Falcons got the only goal of the game early in the second half when Jessica Hegger played a ball through to Gabby Gilmore, who beat a defender, slipped past everyone and slotted home a shot with 34:04 left in the second half.

Early in the game, though, it was the Bears who had control. Berkley’s active midfield directed by sophomore Meghan West caused the Falcons fits, and the Bears had a pair of good chances early, skimming shots just over the top each time.

“She goes out there, and she gets the job done. She encourages her teammates and pushes people to do their job as well on the field,” Bears head coach Lindsey Lubanski said.

But the Falcons picked up the intensity after halftime and started winning balls in the middle of the field, then finding a bit of room to start the attack, controlling the play for much of the second half as their own midfield started to take over.

“At halftime we had a great talk. The leadership really stepped up and responded well to really put a control on their attack and also to create scoring opportunities for us,” Falcons head coach Dustin Coleman said.

Still, the game was tight throughout as the Berkley defense held things together well in the back, giving Rochester few good looks at goal despite the Falcons having the better of the ball in the second half.

“Our defenders have worked really hard to be able to step up and get into the attack and utilize that space to shut down any chances for the opponents to counter, and that’s really helped us a lot to shut down those opportunities by pushing up so that they can’t get through,” Lubanski said.

The Falcons still had to dodge a late Berkley push that culminated in a free kick just outside the box with barely a minute to go. However, Rochester was able to block the kick then clear the ball in the scramble to help goalkeeper Kaitlyn Godwin earn her fifth shutout.

With the win, Rochester improves to 4-3-1 overall and 4-2-1 in OAA White. The Falcons move into first place by just two points over the Bears.

“Our whole team working hard is what got us the win,” Coleman said. “Now that our girls are getting to know each other a little bit more and know how each other play, I feel like we’re really starting to settle in and get into a sweet spot for the season. We’re just going to continue to build and hope for the same results.”

Berkley slips to 4-3-2 overall and 3-3-2 in OAA White.

Next up for both teams is a tough non-league road trip as the Bears head to Birmingham Detroit Country Day on Saturday and Rochester travels to Troy Athens on Monday.

Last Updated: 4/28/2016 10:03:37 PM EST

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