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Miller's second-half goal lifts Athens past Rochester, 1-0 WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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TROY – The Troy Athens Red Hawks got a late goal and defeated the Rochester Falcons, 1-0, in an OAA girls soccer crossover contest Monday night.

The Red Hawks scored the game’s only goal with 14:27 to play in the second half. Elena Manzo took the ball to the deep right corner and fired a bullet cross into the box that Natalie Miller met at the far post, volleying the ball in out of midair.

“We have to find ways to manufacture goals and win games. That’s kind of how it’s been for us this year. I think one team is learning how to do is play in a lot of close games,” Athens head coach Todd Heugh said. “I’m proud of the way we scored the goal because that’s all we had really talked about was working harder, just working harder in the second half. Manzo beat her defender and put a good cross, and Natalie made a really good run and got on the end of it. It was a reflection of hard work really, both of them.”

Rochester had the better of possession on the night. With Jessica Hegger setting the tone in midfield, the hard-working Falcons were able to possess the ball and knock it around midfield pretty well.

But the Falcons could not solve Athens center back Hannah Schell and Elyse Merbach, who organized the Red Hawk defense and gave the Falcons very few quality opportunities.

“I thought we defended pretty solidly, and we limited their chances,” Heugh said. “I thought those two (Schell and Merbach) did a nice job of organizing us and keeping everything in front of us. They could run at us, but it was hard for them to get behind us.”

“I think today was just getting the legs going,” Rochester assistant coach Eliott Tarney said. “We battled hard, fantastic. We possessed fantastic. We’ve just got to find a way to hit the back of the net.”

When the Falcons did get their shots, they put their best ones wide, and Athens goalkeeper Amanda Harris was solid in net on the ones that made it on frame.

With the win, Troy Athens improves to 4-5-3 on the year. The Red Hawks have a little over a week off before facing rival Troy next Tuesday in an OAA Red match.

Rochester (4-4-1) has a quick turnaround. The Falcons host Farmington Tuesday in a key OAA White showdown before traveling to Oxford for another big OAA White game on Thursday.

“Even though we lost, we created many chances, which is a positive sign. That was perfect game to warm up for tomorrow, to come out control the game, win the game, and then prepare us for Oxford because that’s a similar to Oxford, which the league games do really count,” Tarney said.

Last Updated: 5/2/2016 11:16:20 PM EST

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