PHOTO GALLERY | Windber’s Balanced Offense Overwhelms Cambria Heights | Sports

WINDBER, Pa. — After Cambria Heights failed to convert on a few early chances, the Windber Women’s Soccer Team found their stride in Tuesday’s non-conference game at Windber Stadium.

A balanced offense with senior Anna Steinbeck and junior Mariah Andrews leading the charge with two goals and one assist each propelled the Ramblers to a 7-0 win over Cambria Heights.

“I think our possession was exceptionally good tonight,” Steinbeck said. “We struggled with that at the start of the season, but as we started games together and worked as a team, it really got better. Our acceleration really helped us break through. They had fast backs on the outside, so that really helped us break through.

Riley Brubaker provided a goal and two assists. Kaylee Dowdell and Harmony Jablon scored as Windber improved to 7-0 with a 59-2 advantage over their opponents.

Despite a slow and brief start, Windber dictated the terms of the match.

“I have to openly admit that we started off slow, but it was only for two or three minutes,” Windber’s coach B. Paul Buza said.

“We got our composure back and I think we pretty much controlled the game for the next 78 minutes.”

Cambria Heights fell to 6-3 and had just three shots on goal against Lexie James, who had her fifth shutout this season.

“My thoughts were on tomorrow’s game (at Moshannon Valley),” said Cambria Heights coach Nikki Spanik, whose side beat Richland 2-0 on Monday. “We kind of played it a bit safe and had a good time. We played against a very good quality team.

With just 5:17 remaining in the game, Andrews’ shot flew into the top left of the net for a 1-0 lead. Brubaker provided a central feed for Andrews to get his 10th assist of the season.

Less than six minutes later, Steinbeck placed Andrews, who shot just inside the right post. Windber led 2-0 with 28:59 left in the first half. Andrews has 11 goals this season.

James made a bounding save on Emma Spanik to keep the shutout intact with 16:50 to go in the half.

A Paige Strushensky shot was deflected by Cambria Heights goaltender Maria Wendekier.

However, Dowdell put the loose ball in the net for a 3-0 advantage.

Wendekier was injured with 8:37 left in the first half. Brooklyn Galinis replaced Wendekier.

With 3:08 to go at halftime, Brubaker fired a shot past Galinis who was charging into the right side of the net. It was Brubaker’s 16th goal of the season as Rylee Ott scored the assist.

“He’s designed for a possession-type offense,” Buza said.

“I have 10 girls who don’t care who scores the goal. We just want to score goals. They are very selfless. That’s what drives us and that’s what keeps us going. I have athletes stacked up and down.

In the second half, Andrews fed Steinbeck, who fired a dart into the right side of the net with 36:38 left.

Steinbeck added his second count on a stream from Kaylie Gaye.

Jablon scored from a penalty with 21:27 to go to define the final.

Windber’s defense has allowed just two goals in seven games.

“I challenge you to find a better defense than those three to five players we put back there,” Buza said. “I always preach defense first.”

Despite the dominant start, the Windber team does not take the lead.

“We certainly remain humble,” Steinbeck said.

“We won a lot of games, I admit. We didn’t let that go to our heads. We know we still have work to do and we know we’re not the best we can be, so we keep coming every day working hard and knowing we can improve.

Jake Oswalt is an editor for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TheWizOfOz11.

Jack C. Nugent