HOLLIDAYSBURG - Kelsey Swanger was smiling, and with good reason.
A senior on the Altoona High girls' soccer team, Swanger had never tasted victory over county rival Hollidaysburg - until Thursday.
Swanger scored a pair of goals while Kaycie Reffner and Michaela Bryan tallied one each as the Lady Lions blanked Hollidaysburg, 4-0, on a muddy HAHS field Thursday afternoon.
Mirror photo by J.D.?Cavrich
Altoona’s Kaycie Reffner fires a shot on Hollidaysburg goalie Laura Horne.
Hollidaysburg dominated Altoona - and a lot of other opponents - in recent years, so Swanger was ecstatic with yesterday's outcome.
"They always seem to beat us - like 6-0," Swanger said, "and finally, today, we win."
The teams were scoreless for 39:40 before Swanger took advantage of a penalty and floated a free kick over Hollidaysburg keeper Laura Horne from 25 yards out.
"I thought I kicked it too hard and thought it wasn't going in," Swanger said, "and then I was like "yes!"
"Kelsey wanted this since she was a freshman so it was great for her," second-year coach James John said.
"It turned the game," Hollidaysburg coach Dave Soellner said of the late first-half goal by Swanger. "Twenty seconds to go ... it takes the life out of a young team."
Swanger's second goal came at the 33:11 mark of the second half to give Altoona a 2-0 advantage.
"It was right out side the 18 [foot box] again, and I just nailed it," she said. "It felt great."
The Lions dominated after that with Reffner, a junior, and Bryan, a freshman, adding goals during the next 15 minutes.
"It's been [at least] four years," Reffner said of the victory over the Lady Tigers. "It felt real good."
Reffner said Swanger's second goal was big.
"We've had leads of 1-0 before," Reffner noted, "and then we'd let down and end up losing. We didn't want that to happen again."
Hollidaysburg had scoring opportunities early in the first half, but the Altoona defense and freshman keeper Molly Malone were equal to the challenge.
"They had so many corner kicks," Reffner said. "That's one of our sore spots, but we were able to hold them off defensively."
"We had a lot of opportunities," Soellner said. "It's hard when you don't convert opportunities and it makes for a long game.
"We're a very young team, and I see bright spots," the Tiger coach said. "It's a big win for Altoona. They do a nice job and a lot of their kids are hurt.
"They deserved to win. It was their day."
Hollidaysburg dropped to 3-6 on the season while Altoona won for only the third time in 12 decisions.
"It's been a rough season due to injuries," Altoona coach John said. "Coming here, and winning ... it's really great."
SCORE BY HALVES
Altoona 1 3 - 4
Hollidaysburg 0 0 - 0
First Half: A-Swanger (penalty), :20x.
Second Half: A-Swanger (unassisted), 33:11; A-Reffner (unassisted), 23:07; A-Bryan (penalty), 19:29.
Records: Altoona (3-9); Hollidaysburg (3-6).